Doctors’ best placed to issue medical certificates

29 Jun 2017

AMA Vice President Dr Tony Bartone recently reiterated the important role doctors’ play in issuing medical certificates, with his comments following media criticisms of the appropriateness of certificates stating “a medical condition”.

Dr Bartone stressed that doctors would never compromise their patients’ confidentiality by disclosing the nature of the patient’s medical condition without permission. He went on to explain that doctors can and do refuse to issue medical certificates, citing requests for backdated certificates as an example.

The issue of online medical certificates was also raised, and Dr Bartone cautioned against using online tools and apps. “It's really putting your health second and convenience first,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.

“Your family GP sometimes, by just seeing how you are when you're sitting down in the chair, can actually pick up that there's something more afoot, more amiss … which may be a pointer for other more serious conditions.”

AMA Guidelines on Medical Certificates 2011. Revised 2016