Template letter – requests for medical certificates for school children during term time

  • Template letters

This letter covers absences of fewer than 7 days, long-term illness, recurrent short-term illness and missed exams/impaired performance.

GPs are often requested to provide short term sickness certification for periods of less than 7 days when children are absent from schools usually from parents who are misdirected by their school or the local education authority.

  • This guidance is designed to help you to deal with such requests.
  • GPs do not provide short term sickness certification for periods of fewer than 7 days. The child’s school is obliged to accept a note from the pupil’s parent or guardian during this period.
  • GPs are unable to issue medical certificates for longer periods of sickness absence unless the patient was seen by the GP at the time of the illness.
  • GPs are not contractually required to undertake this work and it is not part of your terms of service.
  • GPs are not obliged to provide a view on a pupil who has missed a higher than average number of school days. It is the responsibility of the parent and school to ensure that this absence is legitimate. GP input into this process should not be necessary.
  • GPs are not obliged to provide sickness certification for pupils who may miss an external examination (eg, GCSEs or A levels).
  • GPs can request a fee under the NHS General Medical Services Statutory Instrument, Regulation 25 a.

Ensure your practice has a clear approach to dealing with requests for letters to support a child’s absence from school. Ensure everyone in the practice team adheres to the practice’s approach.