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Medical Certificate Requests from Parents and Schools

In recent years there has been a significant increase from parents / schools to provide medical certificates / letters for children who are absent from school or miss exams through illness.

In line with the General Medical Council and the Wessex LMC guidance, Victor Street Surgery are not contractually obliged to provide a sick note for pupils who are off sick from school, nor are we obliged to provide sickness certifications for students that miss an exam or believe their performance was affected due to illness.  If a request of this nature is received by the surgery, our reception staff will advise you of our policy and kindly ask that you talk with school directly advising this.   Below is our standard response letter to request of this nature.

Victor Streets Standard Response Letter

Dear Head Teacher,


Medical Certificates/Specific School/College Forms


I understand that the guardian/parent of XXXXX  were recently asked to provide a medical certificate / complete a specific form to validate their child’s absence from school. The GP, Dr XXXXX was unable to oblige with this request.


Please be aware that GPs do not provide short term sickness certification for periods of less than 7 days, and are unable to issue medical certificates for longer periods of sickness absence unless the patient was seen by the GP at the time of the illness. In general GPs do not provide certificates for children as the parent’s explanation of the absence is generally sufficient for the purposes of the school.


We have been advised by the Wessex Local Medical Committees (an organisation that exist by government statute to advise and support GPs), that the provision of medical certificates for school children is not part of a GPs responsibility and a refusal to provide this certification is in accordance with the Government policy to reduce GP paperwork and preserve valuable GP time for clinical care.


The same applies when a child has missed an exam, the Examination Boards do not require the GP to provide a certificate before special consideration of the case.


In cases where a child has recurrent short term illnesses, this is a matter for very sensitive and expert management by the school in consultation with the parents and the child. In cases where there is more prolonged absence, the problem needs very careful assessment and the school, with appropriate consent, may seek additional medical information directly from the GP.


It is most important that the GP retains the full confidence of any child, but it’s particularly important for those children that have problems resulting in poor school attendance, where a trusted doctor-patient relationship may be critical for the child’s ongoing care.


I hope you will understand therefore that it was not possible for the GP to issue a medical certificate / complete your specific form as requested on this occasion.

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