Statement of Fitness for Work (The Fit Note)

Statement of Fitness for Work (The Fit Note)

Case Studies

May be fit for work: Case study 1

Alison is a 35 year old contact centre worker. Her job requires taking customer calls. She has been off work for 6 weeks with mechanical back pain and this is her third episode in the past 12 months.

She goes to her GP for a new Statement and during the consultation they discuss her condition and the circumstances relating to returning to work. Her GP advises that she ‘may be fit for work taking account of the following advice’:

  • Comments, including functional effects of your condition(s):
    • referred for physiotherapy – may need time off to attend;
    • need to avoid static postures by taking more frequent breaks and be able to sit/stand when needs to;
    • review workstation; and
    • consider a referral for occupational health advice.
  • Ticked ‘a phased return to work’, ‘amended duties’ and ‘workplace adaptations’.
  • This will be the case for 8 weeks.
  • I will need to assess your fitness for work at the end of this period.

Alison takes the latest Statement to her manager and they discuss the advice on the Statement and how her health condition affects her ability to do her usual job. They agree a phased return to work with more frequent breaks during her shifts. Alison returns to work immediately and after 4 weeks is back to her normal hours. Her manager has also organised for an occupational health assessment to identify any action that may help prevent future episodes.

May be fit for work: Case study 2

Kareena is 52 and works in a department store. She has chronic anxiety and has been off work for 3 weeks. Her job involves working on the customer complaints desk as well as general shop floor duties such as stocking shelves and working on the till.

She visits her GP for a new Statement and they discuss whether she can return to work. She would like to return but has concerns about coping with customer complaints that accounts for about a quarter of her duties. Her GP advises she ‘may be fit for work taking account of the following advice’:

  • Comments, including functional effects of your condition(s):
    • phased return to work;
    • avoid customer­facing duties; and
    • consider creating a support network at work.
  • Ticked ‘a phased return to work’, ‘amended duties’’.
  • This will be the case for 3 weeks.
  • I will need to assess your fitness for work at the end of this period.

Kareena takes the Statement to her employer and they discuss the advice. They agree that Kareena should return to work on a phased return to non­complaints, non­customer facing duties before gradually returning to the complaints desk for shorter then longer periods. An experienced member of the team is nominated as a ‘buddy’ to support her and advise on techniques to deal with handling difficult customer issues. Kareena returns to work immediately and after 3 weeks returns to her normal duties.

May be fit for work: Case study 3

Dave is 30 years old and works in a warehouse of a small building merchant. His job requires lifting. He hurt his dominant (right) shoulder through sport two weeks ago and has been off work since.

He goes to see his GP, is referred for specialist opinion and is given a new Statement. His GP advises that he ‘may be fit for work taking account of the following advice’:

  • Comments, including functional effects of your condition(s):
    • avoid lifting or working above shoulder height.
  • Ticked ‘amended duties’.
  • This will be the case for 6 weeks.
  • I will need to assess your fitness for work at the end of this period.

Dave takes the Statement to his manager and they discuss which parts of his job are affected by his injury. Dave’s normal duties involve the activities that the GP advised to avoid on the Statement. The manager investigates if there are any other suitable duties that Dave could do whilst he recovers, however there are currently none. As Dave’s employer cannot offer any appropriate work Dave remains off work. Dave and his employer use the Statement as if the GP had advised ‘not fit for work’, Dave does not return to his GP for a new Statement. While Dave is off work, he and his manager keep in regular contact to identify the point at which a (phased) return to work could begin. Dave returns to his GP at the end of the Statement period.

Fit Note © Crown Copyright 2013

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