Home Health news Get a sick note for £25 – by just filling out a FORM: Anger over online firms offering same-day letters ‘with NO appointments necessary’

Get a sick note for £25 – by just filling out a FORM: Anger over online firms offering same-day letters ‘with NO appointments necessary’

by Editor

Online firms selling same-day sick notes for as little as £25 were today slammed for offering a service that ‘threatens to make a mockery of the whole system’.

The letters, allowing customers to be signed off work by UK-regulated medics, were promised with ‘no appointments necessary’. 

Customers must just fill out a form, but some ask for people to submit a 30-second video outlining their illness.

Users have hailed the ‘excellent’ and ‘quick’ services. One even claimed to obtain their note within just 20 minutes. 

Experts argued the sites proved getting signed off was ‘little more than a box-ticking exercise for some’. Others, however, warned the issue will not prove easy to resolve. 

Meanwhile, Home2Lab ¿ seemingly based in North London ¿ offers a workplace medical certificate for as little as £44 for a 'regular request'. Under this option, it the site claims a 'UK doctor' will sign the certificate before sending it via email, 'typically within the same day'

Meanwhile, Home2Lab — seemingly based in North London — offers a workplace medical certificate for as little as £44 for a ‘regular request’. Under this option, it the site claims a ‘UK doctor’ will sign the certificate before sending it via email, ‘typically within the same day’

The medics are all registered with the General Medical Council, it claimed ¿ the body responsible for regulating doctors

The medics are all registered with the General Medical Council, it claimed — the body responsible for regulating doctors

The revelation comes after Rishi Sunak today vowed to crackdown on the UK’s ‘sick note culture’, announcing plans to strip GPs of their power to sign Brits off work.

The change would instead see the letters – known in the NHS as ‘fit notes’ – become the responsibility of teams of ‘specialist work and health professionals’.   

MailOnline discovered one seller, Updoc UK, advertising ‘sick notes for work’ from as little as £24.95. 

The letter, ‘accepted by small and large employers alike’, gives ‘official confirmation of your sickness ensuring you obtain sick leave’. 

It adds: ‘Obtain your certification quickly and effortlessly with no appointments necessary.’ 

For £24.95, Brits pay a monthly subscription offering ‘unlimited prioritised medical letter requests’. 

Signed by a ‘UK practitioner’, the document is then delivered both via email and text. 

Other options include the ‘priority express request’, priced at £59.95. This sees patients’ applications prioritised ‘at the top of the queue’, reviewed and signed by a UK practitioner. 

A ‘regular request’ is also available at £44.95 and sent via email ‘usually within the day’. 

MailOnline discovered one seller, Updoc UK, advertising 'sick notes for work' from as little as £24.95. The letter, 'accepted by small and large employers alike', gives 'official confirmation of your sickness ensuring you obtain sick leave'

MailOnline discovered one seller, Updoc UK, advertising ‘sick notes for work’ from as little as £24.95. The letter, ‘accepted by small and large employers alike’, gives ‘official confirmation of your sickness ensuring you obtain sick leave’

Meanwhile, Home2Lab — seemingly based in North London — offers a workplace medical certificate for as little as £44 for a ‘regular request’.

Under this option, it the site claims a ‘UK doctor’ will sign the certificate before sending it via email, ‘typically within the same day’. 

The medics are all registered with the General Medical Council, it claimed — the body responsible for regulating doctors. 

Key points from PM’s sick note speech 

  • Piloting using specialist teams to assess what work people can do, rather than GPs signing them off long-term sick
  • Anyone on benefits for 12 months who does not comply with conditions set by their work coach should be stripped of handouts entirely 
  • Speeding up shift to Universal Credit for those on ‘outdated’ legacy benefits
  • A benefit fraud crackdown including new powers to carry out warrants for searches, seizures and arrests 

Under the regulator’s professional standards, medics must always provide accurate information, that is neither false or misleading. 

This means, ‘taking reasonable steps’ to ensure information is never deliberately left out and the risk of harm is not minimalised or trivialised.   

A ‘priority express request’, totalling £66, will ensure the request for a note ‘is top of the queue’. 

When trialled by MailOnline, the website requested the user upload a minute-long video to describe their symptoms. 

The two sites have also seen an influx of positive reviews on TrustPilot. One claimed Updoc provided an ‘excellent, quick and accessible service’ and received the note ‘within 20 minutes’. 

Another labelled Home2Lab a ‘very good service’ admitting they also received their note on the same day. 

‘Reliable and genuine GP appointment over video’, they added. 

Experts criticised the system, however.

Jonathan Eida, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, also told MailOnline: ‘Taxpayers will be shocked that while it’s impossible to get a doctor’s appointment, getting signed off sick is little more than a box-ticking exercise for many.

‘Doctors should be helping to ease the sick note culture, not contributing to it.’

Meanwhile, Professor Len Shackleton, a labour market expert at the Institute of Economic Affairs told MailOnline: ‘It’s bizarre but only too believable that it is this easy to get a sick note. 

‘Rishi Sunak has rightly identified this as a problem, but it will not be easily resolved. 

‘Insisting on a face-to-face meeting either with a doctor or an appropriate professional assessor may be the long-term answer, but it is not currently practical and will be very expensive. 

The Updoc site adds: 'Obtain your certification quickly and effortlessly with no appointments necessary'

The Updoc site adds: ‘Obtain your certification quickly and effortlessly with no appointments necessary’

For £24.95, Brits pay a monthly subscription offering 'unlimited prioritised medical letter requests'. Signed by a 'UK practitioner', the document is then delivered both via email and text

For £24.95, Brits pay a monthly subscription offering ‘unlimited prioritised medical letter requests’. Signed by a ‘UK practitioner’, the document is then delivered both via email and text

Rishi Sunak warned that a surge in people signed off sick with mental health conditions is placing 'unsustainable' pressure on the welfare budget

Rishi Sunak warned that a surge in people signed off sick with mental health conditions is placing ‘unsustainable’ pressure on the welfare budget

‘Employers may have to insist on their own procedures, but the Tribunal system needs to support any such initiative rather than assuming employees are always victims.’

The Prime Minister today claimed benefits have become a ‘lifestyle choice’ for some, causing a ‘spiralling’ welfare bill.

Latest figures suggest 2.8million Britons are ‘economically inactive’ due to ill health. Around half are signed off with depression, anxiety and bad nerves.

Official forecasts also show spending on ill health through the Personal Independence Payments (PIP) scheme is set to spiral to £33billion by 2029 — compared to just under £19bn last year. 

Mr Sunak added it was time to be ‘more honest about the risk of over-medicalising the everyday challenges and worries of life’.

Labour criticised the plan, arguing that the Government had ‘run out of ideas’. Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer also accused Sunak of ‘blaming people who are ill’.

However, many GPs welcomed the change, with some arguing doctors are ‘often too scared to refuse to sign patients off because they worry they will get angry’. 

Professor Dame Clare Gerada, former president of the Royal College of General Practitioners, also said: ‘We can’t be expected to assess them all. It doesn’t mean we don’t care, because we do. But we simply may not have time to see every person who is off sick.’

MailOnline approached UpDoc and Home2Lab for comment. 

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