Statement of Fitness for Work

Statement of Fitness for Work

From 6 April 2010 the current Med 3 and Med 5 medical statements are being replaced with the new Statement of Fitness for Work.

What is changing?

The key changes are:

  • The introduction of a new option – "May be fit for work taking account of the following advice".
  • You will no longer be asked to issue statements stating someone is fit for work.
  • Increased space for comments on the functional effects of your patient’s condition with tick boxes to indicate simple adjustments or adaptations that could aide their return to work.
  • Inclusion of telephone consultations as an acceptable form of assessment.
  • A reduction in the maximum duration of statement during the first 6 months of illness to 3 months.
  • Simplifying the current system by combining the Med 3 and Med 5 into one form.

What stays the same?

Although we are making changes, many elements of the current system remain the same, including:

  • You can still advise your patient that they are not fit for work.
  • The statement can only be completed by a doctor.
  • The statement is advice from you to your patient that your patient can use as evidence of their fitness for work for sick pay and benefit purposes. The advice on the statement is not binding on employers.

How do these changes benefit doctors?

The new form was developed in partnership with practising GPs and members of professional bodies. The benefits include:

  • Fewer forms to deal with. With the introduction of the new statement the Med3 and Med 5 have been streamlined into one form. Also, because of the introduction of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in October 2008, you no longer have to fill in form Med 4.
  • A wider definition of “assessment” to reflect modern practice. You can now base your assessment on a face-to-face consultation, a telephone consultation or a report from another doctor or healthcare professional.
  • More flexibility to manage consultations. You can now recommend if you need or do not need to see the patient again at the end of the statement period.
  • It will also provide you with the opportunity to give more helpful advice to patients which will help ensure the best work outcomes for them. Evidence shows that work has therapeutic value and is generally good for physical and mental health and well-being whilst long term worklessness has negative health effects (Waddell G. and Burton A.K. 2006, Is work good for your health and well-being?).

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