Sickness certification – LMC guidance
GPs are not contractually obliged to provide a sick note for children who are off sick from school (ref GPC website Jan 2010). In normal circumstances when a child has been absent from school, the parent should give the child a note to take to school when he/she returns explaining the reason for the absence. Most minor illnesses are self-limiting and do not require contact with a general practitioner or a medical certificate.
The GP’s role is to provide advice and treatment for childhood illnesses, when needed, to facilitate an early return to school. In cases of prolonged illness (five days or earlier if there are parental concerns), parents should telephone their GP for medical advice and will be offered telephone advice and/or an appointment if clinically necessary. Medical certification for short-term illness is not appropriate and should not be requested as standard school policy. On the rare occasion, medical evidence is deemed necessary by the school, due to recurrent absences related to illness, a request may be made in writing by a senior member of staff, with the parent’s informed and written consent, and a fee will be payable.
GPs can only give a private medical certificate when they have documentary evidence to confirm actual illness; i.e. from the date that the child has sought medical advice. This is a ‘private’ certificate and the GP is entitled to charge a fee for this service. Retrospective certificates are not valid and should not be issued. Doctors should exercise caution when asked to provide medical certificates based on hearsay.
A fee of £15 will be charged.