On 13 May 2019, the Statutory Sick Pay guidance on Gov.UK was updated to say ‘Allied Health Professional reports have been added as strong evidence of sickness for a period of incapacity lasting more than 7 days’. The actual wording of the revise text says: If incapacity lasts more than 7 days you can ask your employee to give you medical evidence or a fit note from their doctor. It is your decision whether evidence of illness is required, and if so, what evidence is acceptable. A doctor’s fit note or an Allied Health Professional report is strong evidence of sickness and is usually acceptable.
What is an Allied Health Professional?
Given that there is no definition on Gov.UK, the above question is pertinent. Then you have to remember that Gov.UK is only generic guidance for employers and should always be regarded that way. Further, it does not always take into account the fact that things might be different in the different nations that make up our United Kingdom.
So, I thought that I would have a look at the definition of an Allied Health Professional (AHP) in each of the countries.
Fellow professionals might be interested in the below links from where I did my research:
- Health Education England
- NHS Wales / Gig Cymru
- scot (NHS Workforce) and
- NIdirect Government Services
From these separate Websites, I saw that there was a lot of commonality between AHPs in England and in the devolved nations, summarised below:
|Chiropodists / podiatrists||Podiatrists||Podiatrists||Podiatrists|
|Occupational therapists||Occupational therapists||Occupational therapists||Occupational therapists|
|Operating department practitioners||–||–||–|
|Speech and language therapists||Speech and language therapists||Speech and language therapists||Speech and language therapists|
Comments and Conclusions
- Operating department practitioners (ODPs) are Allied Health Professionals in England but not in any other country of the UK. Conclusion – maybe the role is something more in NHS England than it is in the NHS applying in the devolved nations
- Osteopaths are Allied Health Professionals in England only (see Health Education England). So why does the Gov.UK guidance say that they are not and employers must decide whether to accept a fit note from one, together with those issued by such professions as chiropractors, Christian Scientists, herbalists and acupuncturists? Conclusion – the Gov.UK guidance is incorrect!