Re: Coronavirus and Requests for Doctor’s Notes (Med3)

Dear Patient and/or Employer,

The Government’s rules around issuing a sick note (Med3) are that a medical professional can only issue a Med3 when an individual has had more than seven continuous calendar days off sick due to an illness (including weekends).

For any period of illness less than seven days, you are able to complete a self-certification certificate and provide this to your employer. Below is the address where this form can be downloaded:

www.gov.uk

COVID-19 Sick Note Requests

From 20th March 2020, NHS 111 now have the facility for patients to obtain an official isolation note to give to their employers instead of a sick note (MED3). If you need an isolation note, please follow the link below. This can also be given to employers if necessary.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statutory-sick-pay-employees-statement-of-sickness-sc2

In light of the current Coronavirus situation, it is inevitable that a number of employees may be required to quarantine themselves at home, for example due to the nature of recent travel, or because other members of the household are showing symptoms even in the absence of any symptoms of an illness in the employee. In these cases, GPs will not be abIe to issue a sick note as the time off work is not due to an illness, and isn’t affecting your ability to work, but rather is a precaution to avoid transmission of any illness that is yet to produce symptoms.

We therefore expect your employer to be sympathetic if you are required to self-isolate for 14 days and to understand that the reason for this is to protect the welfare of your work colleagues and the wider community. You can now go line using the link below in order to obtain an isolation note from the NHS 111 website:

www.111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/

Where a patient has been advised by the government to shield (i.e. stay at home) for 12 weeks due to having a high risk illness, the employee must discuss options for working at home with their employer. The practice will not issue sick notes or letters to confirm that a patient needs to stay at home for 12 weeks. If a patient feels they should fall into this high risk group but have not received a government letter they may contact the surgery to discuss this with the GP, however, the GP cannot provide a letter for the employer.

Patients may wish to obtain a copy of their medical record via their Patient Access account to evidence their health problems or medication list. Patients should contact reception if they wish to obtain their Patient Access login details.

ACAS have published guidance for employees and employers which can be referred to below:

www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

Whilst we appreciate this may cause some difficulties between you and your employer, equally GPs have a responsibility to prioritise the assessment and management of the healthcare needs of patients who are acutely unwell, rather than spending time dealing with requests for sick notes, particularly when they aren’t in a position to issue one.

In summary:

Issue

Advice

Outcome

1. Symptomatic so isolating for 7 days – used NHS website/111 online/been told by HCP that they have symptoms

Patients can use isolation note

They do not need to contact their GP

2. Symptomatic and remaining unwell for over 7 days

If they remain unwell and unfit for work after 7 days, the current advice is to visit www.111.nhs.uk where there is an online self-assessment tool

They do not need to contact their GP

3. Member of household has symptoms so isolating for 14 days as per government advice

Patients can use isolation note

They do not need to contact their GP

4. At risk group so following government advice and isolating for 12 weeks

If the patient has symptoms they should discuss this with their employer to see if they can work from home. Most patients will have a government letter advising them to isolate.

Where they become unwell during this time, point 1 and 2 applies and they can get an isolation note.

Those in a high risk group without a government letter may clarify their risk status with the GP. No letter will be provided. The patients can access their medical record via Patient Access to evidence health problems.

 

Yours sincerely,

Dr G Love,  Dr C Halford, Dr S Allen,  Dr J Darby, Dr B Moore, Dr E Lal & Dr C Randhawa

Published: Apr 9, 2020