On the 12th of December, the Prime Minister launched the Omicron Emergency Boost, with the NHS expected to offer every eligible adult over the age of 18 a booster vaccination by 31 December. Developing this accelerated booster programme presents a huge challenge for the NHS and it has been asked to prioritise vaccinations and emergency care for the rest of the year. All General Practice teams are therefore being asked to clinically prioritise services to free up maximum capacity.

To support the government’s priority to increase GP capacity immediately and enable GPs to focus on the booster programme, the DWP has taken the decision to temporarily increase the self-certification period for sickness absence from the current 7 days to 28 days. This change will take effect from today (Friday the 17th of December).

This change means that employees will not be required to provide their employer with medical evidence of sickness absence for the first 28 days of absence. Statutory Sick Pay will be payable during this period where an employee meets the other qualifying conditions. This applies to any sickness absence which begins on or after 10 December 2021, up to and including any absences which begin on or before 26 January 2022. For any absences which begin on or after the 27 January, the self-certification period will revert back to 7 days. GPs will still be required to supply fit notes for periods of absence that are longer than 28 days.

This is intended as a temporary measure to quickly maximise GP capacity to support the coronavirus booster campaign. As such, this is a strictly time-limited change and will end on 26 January 2022.

The regulations can be found here:

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