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The general principles regarding procedures dealing with confidentiality apply to all medical certificates.4.
The Responsibilities of Patients5.1 Patients have a responsibility to consult their medical practitioner in a timely manner when requesting a sickness certificate.
Patients also have a responsibility to present the reasons for requesting a certificate in a way that enables the doctor to make an accurate assessment of their eligibility for a certificate.5.2 At the time the certificate is issued, it is the responsibility of the patient to ensure that the employer's requirements for leave have been met.5.3 Patients must not alter the certificate in any way.6.
Medical practitioners need to give careful consideration to the circumstances before issuing a certificate certifying a period of illness prior to the date of examination, particularly in relation to patients with a minor short illness which is not demonstrable on the day of examination and add supplementary remarks, where appropriate, to explain any discrepancy.8.3 Medical practitioners should be clear that their assessment of the patient is based on the patient’s history and the findings of the examination.
The certificate may include information provided by the patient but the medical practitioner’s assessment should be based on illness or injury observed by the medical practitioner or reported by the patient and deemed to be true by the medical practitioner.8.4 Medical practitioners should retain a copy of a patient’s sickness certificate.9.
The purpose of this Guideline is to clarify the responsibilities of medical practitioners, patients, and relevant third parties regarding certificates certifying illness ("sickness certificates") within the context of the doctor-patient relationship. Preamble1.1 The basis of the doctor-patient relationship is trust and confidentiality.
The Responsibilities of Employers6.1 Employers should recognise the right of their employees to keep details of their medical condition confidential.Employers should not expect to see a diagnosis on the certificate.
The subject of physician-patient boundaries illustrates how well-intentioned policy can be written in a way that is simply too shallow to serve the goals of ethics.Medical practitioners may also expose themselves to civil or criminal legal action.Medical practitioners can assist their patients by displaying a notice to this effect in their waiting rooms.4.2 Employers may, in reasonable circumstances, seek further information from the medical practitioner who issued a certificate.Before providing any further information to the employer, the medical practitioner should verify the employer’s identity and obtain express consent from the patient before disclosure of the further relevant information to their employer.4.3 Where an employer contacts the medical practitioner to verify the veracity of a sickness certificate (eg., to determine if it’s fraudulent in any way), the medical practitioner should verify the employer’s identity and confirm the veracity of the certificate.The doctor should not provide any other information about the patient without the patient’s express consent.4.4 The doctor may decline to provide a certificate if he or she feels it is inappropriate to do so.5.It is confined to certification of illness for purposes of sick leave and with applications for carer’s leave.