Medical certificates from chemists

stray 14 May 2008 26

Does anyone have any more info on the idea that to ease demand on GPs, pharmacists would be allowed to issue medical certificates? Would love love love this to be a reality in Canberra having tired of the wait in our public clinics (over 3 hours on average and no guarrantee of being seen) and waiting up to 3 weeks for an appointment with the usual doc’….Half the time its not even to be diaganosed (what doc, all this snot and gunk and sore throat and body means i have the cold/flu? no way!) but to simply get that ‘golden ticket’ that allows one to rest in bed guilt free from work….

To be honest I’m not even sure where I heard this was being floated…


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Lilli Lilli 9:14 am 14 May 08

Funny you bring this up stray – my boyfriend and I were discussing this exact suggestion yesterday. I didn’t realise that it was actually to be a formal suggestion (that was the inference I got from your post) but I was merely suggesting it to my bf as a good alternative to the public clinics. I am the sort of person that gets numerous colds every year and within my current job I am only allowed a max of 5 sick days off each year without a medical certificate. On those days where you really can’t face work but know within 24-48 hours you’ll feel much better if you rest up, a quick trip to the pharmacist would be perfect. I don’t want to sit in a public clinic for hours feeling worse, or pay $60 just to get my GP to sign a piece of paper! Anyway, sorry I couldn’t offer you more info but if anyone does raise this through the right means, I will definitely back it 100%.

Mr_Shab Mr_Shab 9:18 am 14 May 08

I can settle this one. You CAN get a medical cert from some chemists (you might want to have a word with your local).

The AMA weren’t happy about it, but it got up.

omqvc omqvc 9:24 am 14 May 08

Wow, that’s great!
Can any chemist do that? (as long as they have a registered pharmisist onsite, not just a shop assistant.

RandomGit RandomGit 9:34 am 14 May 08

You feel guilt on a self imposed sick day?

I think you are missing the point.

Danman Danman 10:01 am 14 May 08

Dr Smee, Dickson Medical Centre – Bulk Billing 3 minute consultations.

I use him for gastro flu tonsillitus etc, for broader issues I have a GP who knows my history better.

Snahons_scv6_berlina Snahons_scv6_berlina 10:11 am 14 May 08

Shab – of course the AMA would be upset, after all think of that those $50 notes for 10 minutes work the GP will now loose.

ant ant 10:20 am 14 May 08

Good to hear it got up. It’s almost impossible to see a doctor and get the cert and get a decent rest in bed. Pharmacists are excellent to consult for standard health issues anyway, so you can kill two birds with one stone. Go home with your cert, and some medications to help deal with the illness. I had a pharmacist fix my sprained thumb some years back. He did a good job and I can’t even remember which thumb it was.

jennybel75 jennybel75 11:01 am 14 May 08

It was an initiative brought in by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) after legislative changes in 2006. More info can be found on the PSA website (below)

http://www.psa.org.au/site.php?id=2237

Ari Ari 2:10 pm 14 May 08

It is important to note that it is optional for pharmacists to offer the service.

Some will and some won’t (for a range of different reasons). Just ask your local one if they are doing it.

Meconium Meconium 2:49 pm 14 May 08

Legislation went through a couple of months ago. I don’t know why any pharmacy would choose not to offer this service – all pharmacies that are open will have one or more pharmacists working there at any one time. (You never have a pharmacy without a pharmacist on duty – otherwise they would not be allowed to sell behind-the-counter and prescription only medicines (aka schedule 3 and 4 medicines)).

They will all probably have a template certificate ready to fill in with your name, and print it out. They may decline to provide this service to you if they think you’re not sick enough though!

Legally they’re allowed to give a medical certificate for one day only. This may be in conjunction with a referral to a GP (either for the same day or some time soon), or immediate referral to a hospital in serious situations.

You can’t ever get a medical certificate from a pharmacist for absences of more than one day – anything longer than one day requires a GP’s diagnosis.

Hope this helps.

stray stray 3:43 pm 14 May 08

Thanks guys, thats terrific news and great responses!
and lol @ 4# – ….

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 4:29 pm 14 May 08

Is this the same legislation that would allow us to get medical cerificates from veterinarians as well as nurses, as it used “medical professional” rather than “medical practitioner”?

I remember hearing some old hag getting all upset by something a few months back on such a topic…
(So I am in true RiotACT form, just reporting something overheard at a cafe, not knowing if its even relevant to Canberra)

Ari Ari 4:46 pm 14 May 08

Skidbladnir said :

Is this the same legislation that would allow us to get medical cerificates from veterinarians as well as nurses, as it used “medical professional” rather than “medical practitioner”?

The legislative change actually happened as part of WorkChoices in 2006. The wording was changed to allow “a registered health practitioner” to issue certificates for short periods of sick leave.

The change was introduced without consultation with any of the 10 or so professions affected and it took two years for the Pharmaceutical Society to consult with other stakeholders (insurers, accreditation boards etc) to work through all the potential issues (mainly concerning indemnity and whether issuing certificates fell within pharmacists’ scope of practice).

Once these issues were sorted out the Pharmaceutical Society’s guidelines were issued in January this and this triggered the AMA ‘s chest-beating. Other professions have yet to issue their guidelines.

So legally, nurses, optometrists and others can also issue sick certificates, but without official guidelines from their professional bodies they could be leaving themselves open to potential litigation and/or deregistration if something goes wrong.

gun street girl gun street girl 6:17 pm 14 May 08

Snahons_scv6_berlina said :

Shab – of course the AMA would be upset, after all think of that those $50 notes for 10 minutes work the GP will now loose.

Oh, yawn. Of course, every time doctors object to something publicly, it must have more to do with them being greedy and lazy, and absolutely nothing to do with concerns for patient care.

needlenose needlenose 7:24 pm 14 May 08

gun street girl said :

Snahons_scv6_berlina said :

Shab – of course the AMA would be upset, after all think of that those $50 notes for 10 minutes work the GP will now loose.

Oh, yawn. Of course, every time doctors object to something publicly, it must have more to do with them being greedy and lazy, and absolutely nothing to do with concerns for patient care.

Actually, the AMA objected to the legislation on the basis that

(a) requiring people to get a medical certificate for every sick day put an unreasonable burden on both doctors and patients – GPs are overworked as it is and often a patient needing to spend half a day getting a certificate is counterproductive:they’d be better off resting, staying warm etc;

(b) the way the legislation was drafted would have allowed a vet to give a medical certificate.

There was no consultation with any of the health professions as to how this would affect their workloads etc.

The AMA’s objection was not really to allied health professionals giving certificates, but they did argue that the type of practitioner ought to be relevant. Should a psychologist be able to give a certificate stating that someone has malaria? How would they know? And if someone does have malaria, shouldn’t they be seeing a health professional who’s able to treat it?

As an employer, would you be happy with an employee taking three weeks off for depression on the basis of a certificate from their pharmacist?

What’s needed is a better system for verifying when people are actually sick. If you have a migraine, or a cold, it’s better for you to stay home and rest til you’re better than spend time in a waiting room for a medical certificate.

Ari Ari 7:41 pm 14 May 08

But the AMA changed its position 180 degrees in the same week in January … on the Monday they were making an argument that sick people should just be able to judge for themselves whether to stay home … and then later in the same week the AMA was arguing that meningitis would rage across the land because the very same sick people had the temerity to get a certificate from a pharmacist.

So according to the AMA it’s OK for people to decide for themselves to stay home (without any great concern that they might have undiagnosed meningitis), but another health professional gets involved and the fabric of society will be torn asunder?

Fiona Fiona 7:50 pm 14 May 08

“What’s needed is a better system for verifying when people are actually sick. If you have a migraine, or a cold, it’s better for you to stay home and rest til you’re better than spend time in a waiting room for a medical certificate”

exactly. that’s why i got up at 630 to get there at 7am the other day, so I could spend the rest of the day sleeping

Didn’t realise the chemist could give me one for a day…. need to look into that for those fridays when I’m sick and know I should be well by monday

needlenose needlenose 8:26 pm 14 May 08

Ari said :

But the AMA changed its position 180 degrees in the same week in January … on the Monday they were making an argument that sick people should just be able to judge for themselves whether to stay home … and then later in the same week the AMA was arguing that meningitis would rage across the land because the very same sick people had the temerity to get a certificate from a pharmacist.

Far be it from me to defend the AMA (truly, you know hot *how* damn far), but those really are different takes on the same argument, not contradictions.

Most people do know if they’re a bit sick, or a lot sick, and if a day at home is all they need or if it’s more serious.

But if it is more serious, and they can’t get in to a GP for a certificate, how is a pharmacist able to diagnose and/or treat them?

A pharmacist might be able to confirm that you seem to have a cold, and sell you an appropriate treatment. A physio can confirm you have a broken leg and a psychologist can confirm you are depressed and both can probably treat you for those. But a psych can’t treat your broken leg and a pharmacist can’t treat your depression and a physio can’t treat your cold. That’s all.

needlenose needlenose 8:27 pm 14 May 08

Sorry – stuffed up the quote placement – it should have ended at “contradictions”. I promise to preview next time!

ant ant 10:43 pm 14 May 08

Can’t see why a vet couldn’t give out certs! If anything, they’re more qualified than many human doctors (and a lot more accessible).

But I do agree with the AMA’s stance that people should not have to get a cert for a day, in fact, by the tiem they’ve got up, showered, driven to a doctor and sat in the waiting room for ages, they’re most likely to have got worse and will need more time in bed. If they’d been able to stay there in the first place, they would have been better off.

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