Gaps in practice

January/February 2011


Sickness certification

Volume 40, No.1, January/February 2011 Pages 69-71

Sara Bird

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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