Certificates for School Absence due to Accident or Illness
NHS GPs have a contract to provide certain medical services and therefore have no professional involvement in education, or school attendance monitoring. Family doctors do not normally provide school absence certificates for children as the parent’s explanation for an absence will usually allow a school to ensure any health related concerns are addressed.
Furthermore, GPs do not routinely provide short term sickness certification for periods of less than 7 days for any purpose, and a doctor will be unable to issue a medical certificate for longer periods of sickness absence unless the patient was seen by a health professional at the time of the illness. Please note that Department of Work & Pensions medical certificates (“Fit Notes”) are provided only for employment and statutory sick pay reasons. They may not be issued for any other purpose.
If a certificate of sickness or absence is required by a school or college for education purposes, this is not an NHS service and the GP practice may levy a charge. The person or organisation that requests the certificate will be billed accordingly. Obviously, any such request must be accompanied by the written consent of the parent or legal guardian if the student is under 16 and the student’s own consent if he or she is over this age. It is illegal for anyone other than the individual practice to set or recommend a fee scale, please contact the practice to check the charges before submitting a request.
If there are safeguarding or legal concerns relating to a pupil’s school attendance, there are arrangements for GPs to share certain information via Children’s Social Care or the Education Welfare Service.