Medical certificates and reports – GP obligations

BMA medical certificate and report guidance looks at:

  • GPs’ obligations – in GMS, PMS, AMPS and PCTMS contracts particularly in relation to certificates issued by the Department of Work and Pensions;
  • Collaborative arrangements – how these work and the GP’s position. There have recently been changes to the collaborate arrangement fees, and this guidance reflects this;
  • Non-NHS work – where a GP can charge for the provision of a medical certificate, statement or report.

Examinations and sickness certificates – England

It should be noted that GPs are not required to provide sick notes for schoolchildren. When children are absent from school owing to illness, schools may request a letter from a parent or guardian, and this is no different during an exam period. However, children who have missed exams due to illness are frequently told by schools that a note from a doctor is required; but there is no requirement for this to be provided by a GP. Aside from the fact that parents/guardians are responsible for excusing their children from school, GPs cannot provide retrospective sickness certification. When a child suffers from a long­term condition, any certification will be provided by the responsible specialist.

The GPC has sought and received confirmation from the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator that Awarding Organisations make no requirement for pupils to obtain a medical certificate in support of their application for special consideration. Students are asked for information in support of their application, but this may take the form of a statement by the school. The Joint Council for Qualifications has confirmed that as far as they are concerned, if a student was absent from an examination as a result of illness and has the support of the school or centre to be absent, special consideration will be granted on that basis. Awarding organisations do not insist that medical proof is provided.

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