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Doctors are required to issue Form Med 3 (the Statements of Fitness for Work, commonly known as the fit note) where appropriate to patients for whom they provide clinical care. Much sickness absence is attributed to mild or moderate mental ill health, musculoskeletal or cardiorespiratory conditions. The effects of these conditions and others can often be accommodated at work, with appropriate adjustments, adaptations or support if necessary. Employers have a crucial role in achieving this; however, they need advice on the functional effects of the condition to do so. Evidence shows that work can be therapeutic and help promote recovery and rehabilitation. Conversely, unemployment is generally harmful to health and can lead to increased morbidity and poorer physical and mental health, as well as poverty, health inequalities and social exclusion. This concise guideline has been developed to aid doctors in understanding when and how to issue a fit note to the greatest benefit for their patients.
1 May 2012