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Sickness certificates for adults

You do not require a doctor's sickness certificate for any illness lasting seven days or less (including days you don’t normally work, such as weekends or bank holidays). However, your employer may require you to complete a self-certification form (SC2) which is available from your employer, the Post Office, the Department for Work and Pensions (formerly the DSS), and on the HMRC website.

Evidence that you are sick

If you are sick for more than seven days, your employer can ask you to give them some form of medical evidence to support payment of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

It is up to your employer to decide whether you are incapable of work. A medical certificate, now called a 'Statement of Fitness for Work’ (see below) from your doctor is strong evidence that you are sick. This is normally accepted, unless there is evidence to prove otherwise.

You could also provide evidence from someone who is not a medical practitioner, e.g. a dentist. Your employer will decide whether or not this evidence is acceptable. If your employer has any doubts, they may still ask for a medical certificate from your GP.

Statement of Fitness for Work - ’Fit Note'

The 'fit note' was introduced on 6 April 2010. The note will help you return to work sooner, with your employer's support, by providing more information about the effects of your illness or injury.

You will need to book an appointment to see your GP and obtain a medical certificate confirming your illness and inability to work. This will ensure that you receive company sick pay or statutory sick pay (SSP) from the government. The only exceptions to this may be after hospital inpatient or outpatient treatment or for long-term sickness. Please note this service is not covered by the NHS and a charge will be made.

For more information see the DirectGov website (where this information was sourced), or the Department of Work and Pensions website

Guidance for parents/caregivers asked to provide a GP note for school

Please note that GPs do not have a statutory duty to provide informal sick notes for children. Your relationship with the school should be such that any concerns over a child's absence can be resolved without you or the school needing to ask a GP to provide supporting evidence.

1. Relating to school attendance:

The school may ask you to provide a written note explaining your child's absence. In most cases, this should be sufficient evidence for the school to authorise the absence. In some cases, the school may request supportive evidence. This can be a prescription, an appointment card, or a text message from the Surgery confirming an appointment time, and does not have to be a GP letter.

If you need to obtain evidence of an appointment, please ask a receptionist for evidence of the appointment time, with our Surgery stamp. There is no charge for this service.

Occasionally, a school may feel that further evidence is required. We expect you to meet with the school to try and resolve the concern before our Surgery is engaged. If you require evidence from the Surgery following your meeting, you will need to complete a request authorisation form and hand this in to a receptionist. You can then:

  1. a) Give the school permission to speak to our Practice Manager, who will be able to confirm the dates when your child attended an appointment (but not the reason for the appointment or the period of time that the child may need to be absent from school due to illness.
  2. b) Give permission for a member of the school's senior management team to contact the Practice for further information about your child’s medical condition (if the school requests this). You will need to give your written consent for the school to contact the Practice and for the Practice to share medical information relating to the absence.
  3. c) Provide a GP letter detailing your child's illness and the likely duration your child will be absent from school. This can only be done in exceptional circumstances. A GP appointment is NOT required in order for you to request such a letter. This request can be made by completing a Further Evidence Request Form.

Please note that GP letters are not an NHS-funded service, so we may charge a fee for completing these.

2. Relating to requests for special consideration

The following national guidance has been sent out to all GPs, schools and colleges by

the General Practitioners' Council and British Medical Association:

"Schools and colleges should note that GPs will not provide sick notes in support of

special consideration applications. A medical certificate is not necessary when making an application for special consideration where a candidate misses an exam or their performance in an exam is affected as a result of a temporary illness/injury.

As long as the school/college supports the application for special consideration this is

considered sufficient evidence”.

In the above situations, please discuss your child's educational requirements directly with the school. Your relationship with the school should be such that the school is able to submit an application to the examination board without the need of GP evidence.


If, in a very rare situation, the school feels that further supportive evidence is required before it can support or submit an application to the examination board, this needs to be discussed with you first as the parent. If an agreement is not reached between the school and parent, and it is felt that a GP letter is required, an appropriate fee will be applied if the GP does agree to provide a letter. This request can be made by completing a Further Evidence Request Form.

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