People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service. Isolation notes will provide employees 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.
For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they don’t need any evidence for their employer. After that, employers may ask for evidence of sickness absence. Where this is related to having symptoms of coronavirus or living with someone who has symptoms, the isolation note can be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate.
People who need to claim Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (https://tinyurl.com/c2uxopq) because of coronavirus will not be required to produce a fit note or an isolation note. More details on coronavirus and claiming benefits can be found on the universal credit website via https://tinyurl.com/tp8aoxu.
The notes can be accessed through the NHS website and NHS 111 online. After answering a few questions, an isolation note will be emailed to the user. If they don’t 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.
The isolation note service has been commissioned by NHSX and built by NHS Digital.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “It is absolutely vital we do everything we can to ease the burden on our healthcare professionals, allowing them to spend as much time as possible with those patients that need them most. Digital isolation notes will provide reassurance to those self-isolating and their employers while also reducing the pressure on our NHS, so they can continue doing all they can to protect the people of this country and save lives.
The isolation note service can be accessed via the 111 online coronavirus service or NHS.UK/coronavirus as well as via the NHS app.