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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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What is a doctor/consultant required to disclose in a sick

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What is a doctor/consultant required to disclose in a sick note ? I am seeking holistic treatment for depression and anxiety and have also included unproductive coping strategies used in the past (tranquillisers/alcohol) to ensure I guard against these. I do not want the latter revealed to be part of my treatment/diagnosis.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.


Sick notes no longer exist and have been replaced by 'fit notes'. These contain a space for further advice or information, including how the employee's condition will affect what they do. However, if you specifically ask a doctor not to disclose certain information about you they cannot do so as they will otherwise be breaching their duty of confidentiality which they owe you. They cannot lie or mislead the employer but can omit certain information if requested and if that does not create misleading advice when taking into account the remainder of the information on the note.

Customer: Where is the answer ?
Ben Jones :

above, can you not see it?

Customer: I can now thank you. However, I need a higher degree of specificity - the note currently says 'for anxiety and alcohol misuse' and, short of no reference to the latter, I would be content with 'anxiety and ineffective coping strategies' or 'maladapted' instead of 'ineffective' - would that clearly meet the 'not mislead' test ? I am a solicitor myself, though not practising as one currently and never in employment law.
Ben Jones :

if the alcohol misuse is no longer a factor and not affecting your daily work routine then not mentioning it will not be misleading,

Customer: My point is that these were by products of the condition, not the condition itself and the note should limit itself to the latter - correct ?
Ben Jones :

yes I agree

Ben Jones :

do you have any further queries on this?

Customer: No, thank you.
Ben Jones :

my pleasure all the best

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