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Can I Get a Medical Certificate from The Chemist?

By Emily Morris - 19 September 2017 25

Need a medical certificate for work? Don’t want to wait for hours in the doctors’ waiting room to see an overbooked GP for 5 minutes?

The good news is, there is an easier way. Head over to your local Canberra chemist and get a medical certificate from the fully-qualified pharmacist. It’s quick and affordable, so you can spend less time waiting around and more time getting better.

Here’s some more detailed information.

Getting a Medical Certificate from the Chemist in Canberra

Most workplaces require you to submit a medical certificate signed by a medical professional in the event you have taken three or more days off work. This proves to your employer that you are not, in fact, well enough to work.

If you are suffering from a typical cold or mild flu, the thought of making a doctors’ appointment, waiting around for an hour or more, and then paying upwards of $50 just for a medical certificate is incredibly daunting. That’s why so many Canberra residents opt to get their medical certificate from the chemist instead.

It’s an easy process. Simply head to the chemist, ask for the pharmacist, and let them know your symptoms. They will create a medical certificate following the PSA protocol and template.

After, you will pay a small fee, usually between $15 and $20.

Do keep in mind that chemists in the Canberra region can only issue medical certificates for work-related purposes. If you need one for insurance claims, or other, more serious reasons, you will need to visit your GP.

Do All Chemists in Canberra Issue Medical Certificates?

No. Some chemists in Canberra do not issue medical certificates for work-related or other reasons.

It is not mandatory for pharmacists to provide this service. What’s more, most chemists will not advertise this service publicly.

To find a chemist near you that issues medical certificates, we suggest phoning around. Be sure to ask whether or not you need to make an appointment with the pharmacist.

Why Get a Medical Certificate from the Chemist Instead of the GP?

There are a number of benefits that come from opting to get your medical certificate from a chemist rather than the GP:

  • It’s much faster. How many times have you made a last-minute appointment with a doctor only to wait over an hour in the waiting room? Obtaining a medical certificate from a pharmacist should only take about 15 minutes.
  • It frees up time for the GP. GPs are burdened with patients with sniffles and sore throats looking for medical certificates for their employers. GPs should have as much time as possible to attend to patients with more pressing issues.
  • It’s cheap. Unless you find a doctor surgery in Canberra that bulk bills, going to the doctor can be expensive. The pharmacist will charge you less than $30.

Do You Get Medical Certificates from the Chemist?

Have you had any experience obtaining a medical certificate from the chemist?

Let us know in the comments below.

What’s Your opinion?


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25 Responses to
Can I Get a Medical Certificate from The Chemist?
erma 12:37 pm 01 Jun 11

I saw a sign on the front door of the pharmacy at Chisholm recently advertising that they do certificates

Watson 7:28 am 31 May 11

madamcholet said :

The chemist at Calwell does them, but only at a certain times of the day and you need to make an actual appointment – I suppose that’s to stop them having to deal with malingerers all day long. I do support the idea and agree with a previous comment about taking more sick leave than in the whole of your combined lives when having young children in daycare!

Just spent an hour at the doctors this morning and was quizzed very thoroughly by said pharmacist about all the new and wondrous medication we are about to indulge in. If you are going to get a sick note from Calwell, I wouldn’t be a malingerer if I was you! Get the impression they wouldn’t too kindly to having their valuable time wasted!

Off topic but I hate being quizzed by pharmacists about prescriptions I got from the doctor! Our local one does it and then sometimes has the nerve to suggest a ‘natural topical cream’ instead, which makes me want to hit her. So I stopped going there. The Dickson chemist has once given me information about the risk of taking certain medication long-term, but they have obviously made a note in their database about that because they have never done it again. And they show sympathy instead of asking me a million questions and then lecturing me about taking pain killers.

madamcholet 4:26 pm 30 May 11

The chemist at Calwell does them, but only at a certain times of the day and you need to make an actual appointment – I suppose that’s to stop them having to deal with malingerers all day long. I do support the idea and agree with a previous comment about taking more sick leave than in the whole of your combined lives when having young children in daycare!

Just spent an hour at the doctors this morning and was quizzed very thoroughly by said pharmacist about all the new and wondrous medication we are about to indulge in. If you are going to get a sick note from Calwell, I wouldn’t be a malingerer if I was you! Get the impression they wouldn’t too kindly to having their valuable time wasted!

Ate 2:03 pm 30 May 11

The chemist at Palmerston shops issue medical certificates for all you Gungahlin residents. I believe they charge $15.

Gerry-Built 1:38 pm 30 May 11

rescuedg said :

The Fair Work Act has even further deregulated the evidence requirements for personal leave. You only need to provide evidence that would ‘satisfy a reasonable person.’

Not sure when the Act came in to play, but as a teacher; and prior to our current EBA – any carer’s or sick leave over 7 days (in total, or 3 days in a row) in the year, I had to provide a medical certificate. Thank God the voice of reason, which allows us to use Stat Decs now. Dragging babies and infants off for hours-long waits at the Medical Centre, or A&E and tying up their resources simply to obtain a Medical Certificate so I didn’t lose a days pay was. just. the. pits…

I think that the first year I had an infant in Daycare, I took more sick leave than I had taken altogether over the previous 10 year…

Having access to Chemists with the ability, and willingness to provide Medical Certificates would be very welcome indeed…

Jane Proxy 12:54 pm 30 May 11

Jivrashia said :

to help me find where I can go, as apparently not all chemists are willing to provide the service.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I would have thought it would be the other way around.

That is, you’d be hard pressed to find a chemist that DOESN’T provide this service. The chemist would normally have a qualified pharmacist (else they wouldn’t be able to handle prescription drugs) and all pharmacist should be able to issue you a medical certificate under the new arrangement.

Well, yes, they CAN. But they aren’t mandated to, and any pharmacist that doesn’t probably has a number of reasons for not doing so.

If nothing else, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia recommended against it in 2006, and they have a large membership that probably listens to them. They might not be covered by their insurance if they do, and they might be breaching the terms of their registration. The PSA also argued that issuing sick certificates ‘would fall outside a pharmacist’s area of practice and expertise because this is not covered by the Competency Standards and Professional Practice Standards that apply to
pharmacists’. They may have changed their opinion since then, but given that the original statement was made based on legal advice, they may not have.

Again, a pharmacist can, but does not have to, issue medical certificates, and there are a lot of reasons why they might choose not to. And even if they choose to, they may not advertise because the guidelines tell them not to.

All you can do is ask, and accept that it might take a while to find a pharmacist who will do the job.

Jivrashia 12:27 pm 30 May 11

to help me find where I can go, as apparently not all chemists are willing to provide the service.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I would have thought it would be the other way around.

That is, you’d be hard pressed to find a chemist that DOESN’T provide this service. The chemist would normally have a qualified pharmacist (else they wouldn’t be able to handle prescription drugs) and all pharmacist should be able to issue you a medical certificate under the new arrangement.

Watson 12:00 pm 30 May 11

Dickson chemist did the job. A bit of a wait (nothing compared to the wait at most GPs though) and the pharmacist who filled out the form an the certificate had obviously not had much practice doing this as she had to start over twice. But for $20 and being in and out in under 30 minutes, I think it was an excellent service.

our-interface 11:45 am 30 May 11

Why not let the chemists write out certificates? GPs in Canberra are already over capacity and if you know you’ve just got a cold what’s the point of inconveniencing other people by going to an actual doctor for a certificate.

rescuedg 11:30 am 30 May 11

Not a direct response to the post but addressing the underlying problem.

The Fair Work Act has even further deregulated the evidence requirements for personal leave. You only need to provide evidence that would ‘satisfy a reasonable person.’ So in practice if you had a receipt from the Chemist for painkillers/ cold and flu tablets from the day you were sick this could be seen as sufficient evidence.

Medical certificates are no longer a requirement. The walk-in-centre at the hospital does do sick certificates though.

Evidence
(3) An employee who has given his or her employer notice of the
taking of leave under this Division must, if required by the
employer, give the employer evidence that would satisfy a
reasonable person that:
(a) if it is paid personal/carer’s leave—the leave is taken for a
reason specified in section 97

Section 97: An employee may take paid personal/carer’s leave if the leave is
taken:
(a) because the employee is not fit for work because of a
personal illness, or personal injury, affecting the employee;
or
(b) to provide care or support to a member of the employee’s
immediate family, or a member of the employee’s household,
who requires care or support because of:
(i) a personal illness, or personal injury, affecting the
member; or
(ii) an unexpected emergency affecting the member.

Jane Proxy 10:57 am 30 May 11

A lot of chemists don’t list it because the guidelines they are given for issuing medical certificates indicate that advertising the service is ‘not encouraged’. Those that do advertise are currently under fire from the AMA. It’s kind of a sore point with them, as I understand it.

WorkChoices legislation deregulated the issuing of medical certificates, and nominated 10 ‘registered health professions’ that could issue certificates. All chemists have the power to issue certificates, but none of them have to. Your chiropractor can also issue a certificate, as can a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. Again, they aren’t mandated to provide the service, and are unlikely to volunteer it.

It’s beside the point, but the AMA has taken the opportunity created by pharmacists ignoring the guidelines to open up the debate about whether the practice should continue at all.

Erg0 10:05 am 30 May 11

I’ve gone to the chemist in Kingston to get medical certificates for minor ailments a couple of times. Much easier (and cheaper) than going to the doctor if you already know what you’ve got and what you need to do about it.

Watson 9:53 am 30 May 11

I called Dickson Capital Chemist (have always had tremendous service from the pharmacists there for other matters) and they said they do it, but advise people to come in when they have at least two pharmacists on duty, ie. after 9am.

There was this fairly recent report on ABC news about it, I discovered: http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2011/05/11/3214356.htm

Wily_Bear 9:47 am 30 May 11

Capital Chemist in Wanniassa will do them, and I am assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that most Capital Chemists would do them. It is true that they do not advertise the service, there appears to be a strange reluctance amongst chemists to admit they do it. I wonder if this is due to some opposition when the service was first introduced ?
Anyway, I know Ainslie chemist also provides certificates, not sure if that’s helpful for you. I’d advise ringing to make a time, as they prefer people don’t come in rush periods. Good luck

The Frots 9:44 am 30 May 11

I have no idea which chemists are involved, but it was supposed to be part of the program to relieve doctors from the constant drain of issuing certificates for ‘colds’ and sniffles’.

However since it was annouced I haven’t heard of one chemist promoting it – or even if it’s still a viable program. I’d be interested to know as well.

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