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Developed by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) and the College of Podiatry, 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.

Called the AHP Health and Work report, physiotherapists and other allied health professionals (AHPs) now have the right to issue independent professional advice, which patients can use to claim statutory sick pay from employers during short-term absences.

It is designed to be simple, quick and straightforward so AHPs can easily integrate the report into a patient’s assessment.

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

The revamped AHP Health and Work report was previously known as the Allied Health Professional Advisory Fitness for Work Report, and the CSP is encouraging its members to use the new tool.

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 report has been rebranded to encourage greater up-take and to avoid possible confusion with the fit note (Statement of Fitness for Work), which only GPs can issue.

“The fit note can be used for statutory sick pay purposes and also to support claims for ill health benefits,” Helen added.

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

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

Helen said: “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.”

Alongside providing advice on fitness for work and giving evidence for statutory sick pay purposes, AHPs can also use the tool to initiate return to work discussions between employees and their employer, and help employers agree appropriate modifications to an employee’s environment to enable them to work.

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