Introduction This article forms part of our ‘Paperwork’ series for 2011, providing information about a range
of paperwork that general practitioners complete regularly. The aim of the series is to provide
information on the purpose of the paperwork, and hints on how to complete it accurately. This
will allow the GP to be more efficient and the patient to have an accurately completed piece of
paperwork for the purpose required.
Sickness certificates are legal documents. Medical boards receive
numerous complaints each year from patients, employers, insurers
and other parties about the quality and accuracy of sickness
certificates. General practitioners who deliberately issue a false,
misleading or inaccurate certificate could face disciplinary action, or
even a charge of fraud. This article provides some guidance for GPs
about writing certificates certifying illness, and discusses common
medicolegal issues associated with sickness certificates.
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