As from the 17th December 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions have made a legislative change to the period a person can self-certify as being ill. Previously this was 7 calendar days but this has been extended to 28 calendar days for any person who’s illness started on or after the 10th December 2021. This temporary change will be in place until the 26th January 2022 when it will revert back to the 7 day period.
The reason for this change is to free up capacity and allow staff to work on the COVID booster programme. By extending the period a person can self-certify it reduces the burden on clinical staff.
This means that if you have been ill on or after the 10th December 2021, you will be able to self-certify for the following 28 days without needing to contact the surgery for a fit note. If you have been ill or off work before the 10th December and you have a fit note then you should contact the surgery when this expires for a GP to assess as usual.
If you have been ill on or after 10th December 2021 and you require a fit note after 7 days (for example your employer has requested one) these are dealt with as private fit notes and there is a charge. This is because it is not an NHS service as the Government states that you can self-certify for 28 days under the current changes (until 26th January 2022).
Further advice and guidance can be found: www.gov.uk/taking-sick-leave.