07 Apr 2020

A new online system went live at the end of March to enable patients to digitally request and be emailed a note if they need to self-isolate - reducing the burden on GP practices.

To reduce the burden on the NHS and GP practices, a new online system from the NHS and the Department for Work and Pensions went live on 20 March enabling patients to be emailed a digital isolation note.

Isolation notes provide patients with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.

As isolation notes can be obtained without contacting a doctor, this will reduce the pressure on GP surgeries and prevent people needing to leave their homes.

The isolation note service can be accessed at https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/ or https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/, as well as via the NHS app.

After answering a few questions, an isolation note will be emailed to the user. If they do not have an email address, they can have the note sent to a trusted family member or friend, or directly to their employer. The service can also be used to generate an isolation note on behalf of someone else.

Currently, if you suffer from an illness or health condition, you can self-certify for seven days but from day eight many employers require you to obtain medical evidence. This is usually in the form of a fit note issued by a doctor, generally a GP, to support payments of statutory sick pay.

Guidance for employers advises them to use discretion in requesting medical evidence, as current regulations are flexible, but employers could still ask for fit notes or some form of evidence of self-isolation.