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ANP launches petition calling for non-GPs to have authority to sign fit notes

An advanced nurse practitioner has started a petition calling for advanced healthcare practitioners (AHPs) to be able to sign fit notes (med 3 forms). 

The petition, started earlier this month by Anna Crowther, an ANP at St James's University Hospital, aims for AHPs to have the authority to sign patient fit notes to save the NHS time and improve efficiency.

Speaking to Management in Practice, Ms Crowther said that several of her colleagues in general practice have expressed that this is an ongoing problem affecting GP surgeries, and said they would back her petition.

Launched at the beginning of October, the petition already has over 1,300 signatures.

At present, only GPs can sign fit notes in general practices.

But separate to the petition, a Department of Work and Pensions spokesperson said that they are working towards the commitment they made last year to legislate for other healthcare professionals to be able to sign fit notes. 

In 2017, the Government committed to working towards legislation permitting fit notes to be signed by other health professionals.

The British Medical Association has welcomed the petition, adding that the change in legislation will reduce admin pressure on GPs.

BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘At a time when admin has become increasingly burdensome in general practice, compounding existing workload issues, it makes perfect sense for the health professional seeing the patient to issue fit notes where needed, removing the added layer of bureaucracy involved in getting it signed off by a GP.’