Revamped tool allows physios to issue independent advice about staff returning to work

Physiotherapists can now use an updated tool to advise employers about a person’s fitness for work – without having to refer them to a GP.

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The report can be used to provide evidence to employers for statutory sick pay purposes

The AHP Health and Work report gives allied health professionals the right to issue independent professional advice, which patients can use to claim statutory sick pay from employers during short-term absences.

In addition, the report can also be used to offer practical advice, to both patients and employers, which could enable them to carry on working.

The CSP worked with the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and the College of Podiatry to develop the tool [previously known as the Allied Health Professional Advisory Fitness for Work Report], and the society is now urging members to make use of it.

CSP professional adviser Helen Harte said: ‘Physiotherapists can use this report to bypass the need to refer patients back to a GP to be signed off work.

‘It allows them to advise whether a person should stay in work, for instance with recommendations about amended hours or the capacity to take more breaks, or if they should be signed off sick.’

Originally published in 2013, the nationally recognised report has now been re-branded to encourage greater up-take and to avoid possible confusion with the fit note [Statement of Fitness for Work], which only GPs are able to issue.

‘The fit note can be used for statutory sick pay purposes and also to support claims for ill health benefits,’ Ms Harte explained.

‘Whereas the AHP health and work report is only for the purposes of claiming statutory sick pay.’

Quick, simple and easy to use

The report is available in hard copy and digital formats and AHPs are expected to use it with patients during the assessment process.

‘It’s a really simple form, so it’s a quick and straightforward process, which can easily be integrated into an assessment,’ said Ms Harte.

‘Work as a health outcome is very important and physiotherapists are routinely having these type of conversations with patients anyway, so the only extra thing they need to do is complete the form, issue it to patients and ask them to give it to their employers.’

Physios and other AHPs can use the report to

  • provide advice to employees on fitness for work and how a return to work could be facilitated
  • enable employees to provide evidence to their employer for statutory sick pay purposes
  • initiate return to work discussions between employees and their employer
  • help employers agree appropriate modifications to an employee’s environment to enable them to work

Watch Helen Harte introduce the revamped AHP Health and Work report.

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