Inadequate medical certificates – Are you sick of the pandemic?

POSTED BY
12 September 2013

posted in Employment | Medical certificates

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As an employer you may have been presented with medical certificates from your employees containing a generic statement along the lines of:

‘This patient was seen by me on date and in my opinion is/has been unfit for work from date until further notice’.

These medical certificates provide you with little or no information regarding the diagnosis or prognosis of your employee’s illness (particularly in situations where the workplace is alleged to have contributed to the absence) and the types of duties your employee can, or cannot, perform. Some medical certificates are even post-dated. These shortfalls, together with your inability to make further enquiries because of patient privacy, make managing your employee’s absence difficult and frustrating.

These problems are at the forefront of the Medical Council of New Zealand’s review of the standards for doctors in writing medical certificates which are intended to outline a doctor’s responsibilities when completing medical certificates. The more notable changes being proposed by the Medical Council include:

  • a change in emphasis from the exclusion of particular information to information that can and should be included in a medical certificate (this could include a diagnosis and/or the workplace factors which the employee believes have contributed to the illness);
  • identifying what duties or part duties your employee is fit for; and
  • providing advice for employers and doctors with respect to the request and disclosure of information about an employee’s illness.

If implemented, these changes will provide you with more information of the circumstances surrounding your employee’s absence. You’ll have more information to not only see through ‘sickies’ but to also manage your employee’s return to work.

POSTED BY
12 September 2013

posted in EmploymentMedical certificates

VIEWED 6817 TIMES

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