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Fit notes following or during hospital treatment, surgery or fracture

If you are likely to need a fit note (otherwise known as a sick note or MED 3) when you come out of hospital or following outpatient attendance, please ask the doctor treating you in hospital to provide you with one before you leave. This is because the decision on how long you need off work is made by the clinician who has assessed and treated you. If you have forgotten to do this, please contact the hospital and ask for a Fit note to be posted or texted to you.

Unfortunately, the process for providing Fit notes isn’t always well-understood by our hospital colleagues and we often hear our patients have been told things by our colleagues that aren’t always true. Here some myths and facts about this issue.  

“Consultants and junior doctors don’t write fit notes. Fit notes are a GP’s job” – FALSE. 

“The hospital just don’t have any fit note pads” – FALSE. 

“The hospital can only issue notes for one or two weeks at the very most” – FALSE.  

“The hospital can’t issue you with a fit note if you’ve only been to outpatients” – FALSE. 

“The hospital won’t be able to message me with my fit note or send it to me in the post” – FALSE. 

“The doctor who is treating you at the time has a statutory obligation to provide you with a fit note if you need one. This includes all hospital doctors” – TRUE.  

“The doctor who is treating you should sign you off for the appropriate time period according to the condition you have been treated for” – TRUE.  

“Both private and NHS doctors can issue fit notes” – TRUE.  

“It is part of the hospital’s contractual duty to issue a note. Failure to do so is breach of contract” – TRUE.  

This is an extract from the guidance from the Department of Work and Pensions about fit notes (also known as doctors’ statements or Med 3s in this text):  

Thousands of appointments and telephone calls with GPs are taken up each year by patients requesting fit notes when they could have been issued by hospital doctors providing treatment at the time. Please help us to keep our appointments free for patients who need our input, rather than for administrative paperwork that could have been dealt with by others at the end of your hospital visit.  

If you have trouble getting a fit note from the hospital, please contact PALS (Patient Advice Liaison Service) team: 

     Contact: 0161 922 4466                                                                Email: palsandcomplaints@tgh.nhs.uk  

Website: https://tamesideandglossopicft.nhs.uk/contact-us/patient-advice-and-liaison-service-pals