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LogoWarningBox4.pngEvery certificate a doctor signs might result in their being struck off, and/or imprisoned or fined. In practice, few do, but concentrate. And if you can't certify it - DON'T SIGN.

Certification of

See also Get a note from your doctor.


Fit notes

In the UK from 6 April 2010 the forms Med 3 and Med 5 were replaced by a single form still labelled med 3 and now described as a ‘fit note’. See e.g. this story in Pulse for more information; and here for a sample.[1]

As with the previous Med 3 form, where a hospital doctor is responsible for a patient's care, and a patient needs advice about their fitness to work, the hospital doctor should issue a new "fit note" (or until 6 April 2010, the old Med 3[2][3]), and should not refer the patient to their GP for this.[4]

See also:

Modifying Certificates

In many ways the best certificate is a completely blank piece of paper on which the certifier writes exactly what they certify.

In all circumstances feel entirely free to strike out or add words on a pre-printed certificate, whether it is statutory, commercial, "policy" or ad hoc, so that what remains and is signed indicates nothing that you cannot certify, and exactly what you can certify.

If words are suggested (as in the mode of death question on the UK Cremation Certificate Form B (Part 2 in Scotland) ) only use them if you understand their meaning, and they are exactly the words you would use from choice. If someone will eventually have to fit your reply on their form into one of 5 categories in their computer database, that is their problem. If you need to write an essay on it instead of ticking box 1 to 5, then do so.

If the certificate says that you have done something, then only sign it if you have done it. If you will not or cannot do it, and have some reason to complete the form nonetheless, then modify the form until it does not say you have done whatever it is. If you have, for instance not seen the patient, but regard the note of your absent colleague as equivalent, then cross out "I" and perhaps write "colleague". If you have not contacted a relative for adequate reason, record the reason.

Self certification

See self-certifation section on the "Get a note from your doctor" page.

Sick note for dependant's illness

This is an issue that arises from time to time. Many people believe that they are entitled to "sick leave" when they need to take time off work to care for a sick relative or other dependant.

A sick note should only be issued for people who are, themselves, unwell.

Doctors should not be too quick to assume that because the person requesting the sick not is not "the one with the illness", they are fit to work. In the case of, for example, serious illness in a spouse or child the person may be too anxious to work, and entitled to be off sick for this reason.

See also

Incapacity assessment page, which includes links to official Department of Work and Pensions guidance on completion of the various forms.

Signature Cremation