The website Doctors- notestore.com is brazenly selling false versions of the new fit notes which are described as “authentic looking replica doctors sick note or medical certificates. Written on official doctors’ notepaper, with real stamp.”
This causes concern because, although the website claims the documents are “for novelty use only”, workers could try to use them to claim sick pay which is fraudulent.
The fake fit notes come with a guaranteed 48-hour delivery, and employees can choose to have their notes stamped by doctors from medical centres in any UK city. Top employment experts have warned HR could be scammed by the facsimiles as they are still getting used to the new fit-note system.
Katherine Ashby, a researcher in the health and wellbeing team at The Work Foundation, was quoted in Personnel Today saying: “It’s a risk that employers could be fooled by them because the fit note is a new concept.”
Ben Willmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, agreed it could be “very difficult for employers to spot them”, but said if HR were suspicious, they should refer the worker to an independent occupational health adviser or doctor, or alternatively call the surgery which issued the note to check its legitimacy and that it was signed by the doctor named. He added employers could also warn their staff that anyone found using the fakes would face disciplinary action.
Incredibly, Doctorsnotestore.com is currently running a special ‘buy one, get one free’ offer with a blank fit note, so they will “have a spare one to fill in yourself at a later date – you never know when you’ll have to explain your absence again”.
To complete the note, the employee has to simply supply their name and address, what they are suffering from, and the date they started to ‘suffer’ the problem.