RPS position statement on pharmacists being enabled to provide fit notes

RPS agrees that pharmacists should be able to provide fit notes for those patients where they have a full understanding of the patient’s history and medical requirements.

The change in legislation should be enabling and communications around any legal changes should make this clear as we are concerned that pharmacists in all care settings could be put under undue pressure to issue a fit note if the legislation changes.

Issues that would need to be addressed before any changes in legislation came into force to enable pharmacists to write fit notes include:

  • The signing of the fit note needs to be relevant to the clinical consultation and only undertaken where it aligns with the pharmacist’s case load
  • The pharmacist should be competent in the assessment and / or treatment of the condition for which the fit note is being supplied
  • There must be access to a single patient record to enable the clinician signing the fit note to have access to all the relevant information
  • The process should enable digital signatures
  • Workload should not be significantly impacted for any one individual pharmacist
  • Training should be made available to support any healthcare professional in writing fit notes

It is vital that any healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, who will be affected by this new legislation are involved in the subsequent guidance development which will shape changes in practice.

The completion of fit notes should not be seen as a purely administrative task and should only be delegated to those who have clinical knowledge of the patient. Ideally, they should be completed by the person who deems the fit note necessary after a clinical consultation as they will have made that clinical decision and be familiar with the reasons for it. The ability of other professionals to complete fit notes should not mean that medical professionals delegate the task and the workload is just shifted to others.