BEWARE OF FAKE FIT NOTES
Leading Black Country law firm George Green LLP warn employers to be on the look out for fake fit notes, which are being sold on the internet.
Tim Lang, Partner and Head of Employment at George Green commented “The website www.doctorsnotestore.com is producing fake new style fit notes on NHS headed paper bearing real doctors’ names and stamped with an official stamp. The site contains a disclaimer which says they are for novelty purposes only and goes on to say they do not condone intentional false absence for an employer or educational institutions. They do not condone illegal use of these documents. However the site does say that the certificates will be stamped by a doctor in any particular city facility – London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow or any other area.”
“The NHS Fraud Squad said that selling fit notes is not illegal so a person could type one up and sell it without being prosecuted. It only becomes illegal when an employee uses it.”
According to Mr Lang “Employers should ensure that fit notes received are genuine where they have any concerns at all. Fit notes can be compared to previous fit notes received from the employee’s surgery.”
Mr Lang continued “The policy of spot checks could be introduced whereby doctors’ surgeries are contacted to verify authenticity. Key points in the policy should be:
Employers who pay company sick pay above SSP are most at risk from fake fit notes.
Employers should conduct a robust return to work interview process.
Employers do not have to accept a fit note at face value.
Employers should review their contracts and sickness absence policies to ensure that they have the right to refer an employee to an independent doctor if necessary.”