Practice Updates

Fit Note extension period

The Department of Work and Pensions are making legislative changes meaning that from Friday 17 December 2021 self-certification for sickness will be extended from 7 to 28 days for people accessing Statutory Sick Pay, and there will be no requirement for a fit note to access other benefits. This time limited change will end on 26 January 2022. Further guidance on this is available. Whilst we expect this to cover the vast majority of fit note requests, GPs may continue to receive some for access to occupational sick pay depending on individual contractual arrangements.

Prescription charge medical exemption certification

The Department of Health and Social Care will temporarily suspend the re-certification requirement for existing prescription charge medical exemptions but retain this requirement for newly diagnosed patients. NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) will contact patients with existing medical exemptions that are due to expire between 16 December and 26 January and supply a new certificate extending their exemption for a further six months. Some people requiring renewals may have already received a reminder and have arranged with their GP surgery for this form to be signed. If this has not yet been done, no action needs to be taken.

Firearms licenses

The Home Office has written to the main shooting organisations to request where possible, that firearms certificate applicants who are about to submit a request wait until January before requesting the relevant medical information from their GP or from an independent doctor. We anticipate the vast majority of applicants (for example new applications for non-work purposes) will be able to wait.

The Home Office would be grateful, if a person has a particularly urgent application, for example, because of work commitments or the imminent expiry of their certificate, if practices could still consider providing the information.

DVLA checks

The Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) has suspended requests for medical information for the provision of drivers licences until the 12 January (excluding essential workers e.g. bus and lorry drivers).