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GP won't provide medical letter for school

(40 Posts)
cakedup Thu 20-Dec-18 21:46:18

DS (13) had been off school for 10 consecutive days and 3 more intermittent days soon after, due to chronic insomnia. Although I've been in constant contact with the school and they have been involved in trying to support DS' return, they have asked for medical evidence to authorise his absence in the form of a letter from the GP. They told me it is a requirement for all schools.

However, when I asked the GP, she insisted that GPs are no longer required to provide these and that the school should not be asking for this.

Who's right??

PurpleDaisies Thu 20-Dec-18 21:48:27

The GP. It’s not in their contract to provide medical evidence for schools.

www.bma.org.uk/advice/employment/gp-practices/service-provision/supporting-pupils-at-school

redsummershoes Thu 20-Dec-18 21:48:55

ask the school if they would pay the fee the gp would charge?

Dilligaf81 Thu 20-Dec-18 21:50:17

I think it's absolutely ridiculous that a school would ask for this. Do they know how hard it is to get a go appointment? My surgery is always full of the elderly so if schoolkids were added to that no one else would get a look in.

Delilah1234 Thu 20-Dec-18 21:53:48

It should be noted that GPs do not provide sick notes for schoolchildren. When children are absent from school owing to illness, schools may request a letter from a parent or guardian, and this is no different during an exam period. However, children who have missed exams due to illness are frequently told by schools that a note from a doctor is required; but this cannot be provided by a GP. Aside from the fact that parents/guardians are responsible for excusing their children from school, GPs cannot provide retrospective sickness certification. When a child suffers from a long-term condition, any certification will be provided by the responsible specialist.
Copied and pasted from BMA website.
Disclaimer I am a GP.

cakedup Thu 20-Dec-18 22:31:30

Thanks everyone. How odd - the school were so insistent that they had every right to request one.

redsummershoes do you know if that is the case (that one can be obtained with a fee?)

Dilligaf81 exactly. I work full time and my local GP practice does not offer evening appointments either (and I work term time so not entitled to annual leave during the school term). I made a phone appointment with the GP as it's so hard to get a face-to-face appointment.

Thanks for the BMA link/text - I will use it to reply to the school.

PinkDaffodil2 Thu 20-Dec-18 22:42:42

You can certainly get one for a fee if you see a private GP. It will be up to your own practice if they have a policy of doing private work for a fee or not. Some practices are under such pressure for appointments especially this time of year that they won’t do non NHS work at all, to prioritise the stuff they’re contracted for.
It isn’t an unreasonable thing to not be sure about, though school should know better. Some practices are happier than others to do it, but with increasing pressure I think more and more are having to be stricter about stuff like this.

redsummershoes Thu 20-Dec-18 22:49:22

cake when I needed one (for compassionate leave for employer) the gp wrote a letter and charged me 30£

DobbinsVeil Fri 21-Dec-18 11:49:35

My GP did one for one of my DC for £18. He's had an ongoing illness that GP and his attendance/PE participation became a bit of an issue for school after I complained about something the PE teacher said to my child.

cakedup Fri 21-Dec-18 17:29:36

Hmmm. I don't feel too inclined to pay for a letter that the school want to be honest.

FamilyOfAliens Fri 21-Dec-18 17:34:51

I can completely understand why a GP would not be willing to write a sick note for a patient they haven’t even spoken to, never mind seen.

iVampire Fri 21-Dec-18 17:40:54

Write to the school, quoting the BMA guidance, but saying that if they make and pay for a private medical appointment your DC will attend. (And point out that having private medical cover is not s requirement for the use of state schools, and that anything the school required in excess of NHS services it will have to fund itself). Copy to head of your LEA

FamilyOfAliens Fri 21-Dec-18 18:04:05

Write to the school, quoting the BMA guidance, but saying that if they make and pay for a private medical appointment your DC will attend.

As it’s obvious the school doesn’t have the funds for this, wouldn’t it be a complete waste of the OP’s time?

Unless she knew they wouldn’t pay and just wanted to make a passive-aggressive gesture?

cakedup Fri 21-Dec-18 19:23:56

FamilyOfAliens sorry I should have said, that even though the initial appointment was a phone consultation, I did bring DS in to see the GP after that. Which is when she refused to provide a letter. She said there are too many children to be writing sick notes for every time the school requested one.

FamilyOfAliens Fri 21-Dec-18 20:57:59

We’ve had sick notes brought in by parents from the GP.

Apparently you can generate the note from what the GP types into the patient’s record during the consultation. The software does the rest - you just click “generate medical note”.

I don’t understand why all surgeries don’t do this. But I’ve found them very reluctant to work with schools.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Fri 21-Dec-18 23:45:40

But I’ve found them very reluctant to work with schools

Have you read the previous replies?
The GP practice has a contract to provide certain services. They are not contracted to write sick notes for those in education. It's not their job to do this.
They are busy doing the NHS work they are contracted to do.
It's not just the clicking of a button to make the letter. It's the family that book a GP appointment just to get a letter for school, when they wouldn't have booked one otherwise. That appointment could have been used by somebody who actually wanted medical attention.

bluefolder Sat 22-Dec-18 00:17:42

If we give letters for school, parents will bring their child with every cough and cold and undermine decades of public information about home management of self limiting illness. That's why we don't do them, it's not the time to do the letter so much, though that is also an issue, as the whole appointment. Other letters are private as not funded by the NHS and I usually say to the parent that they should get the school to request it in writing and pay for it. Miraculously when faced wih that option the head usually decides it isn't necessary.

Santasshoe Sat 22-Dec-18 00:29:31

It's ridiculous isn't it. My children's primary school tried to make parents get drs notes for after 4 days off. Strangely they changed their tune when parents asked if they were going to pay for them.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 22-Dec-18 00:30:50

I think that if Ofsted and schools were that bothered about absence (genuinely rather than as a quantifiable box ticking exercise), they should provide a drop in nurse you visit on day 3 or 4 who can assess your child and give general advice. Can visit anyone bedbound. That would of course cost money and is less fun than fining parents. Would save all the stress of trying to send an ill child in. My dc had opposite problem- too sleepy due to medication. Would have been far better at home rather than falling asleep in lessons but had to send in because already low attendance rate due to disability.

FamilyOfAliens Sat 22-Dec-18 00:34:55

That would of course cost money and is less fun than fining parents.

Schools don’t fine parents - the local authority does. I’m amazed people still don’t get this.

Walkingdeadfangirl Sat 22-Dec-18 22:58:09

Is it just me (England) or cant you just print a medical note off from your child's online medical record. That's what I have been doing for several years now.

DobbinsVeil Sat 22-Dec-18 23:24:25

I'm in England too and no online medical records available here. In fact, our surgery doesn't allow children's appointments on the online booking facility. I didn't need an appointment to get a note though, was told to write in with a request.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sun 23-Dec-18 09:44:27

Schools don’t fine parents - the local authority does. I’m amazed people still don’t get this.

Well you will be delighted to know that I am aware that the LEA issue fines but as I didn't specify who it was issuing the fines then you wouldn't know what l do and don't know. I might have been implying that Ofsted fine parents (don't worry I know they don't either) but you assumed that I meant schools. I of course forgot that I was posting on pedantnet.com Headteachers are responsible for deciding whether to authorise absence, despite having no medical training. There is a list of guidance which includes common ailments but not the conditions that my disabled dc have. Fortunately the schools are fairly reasonable but I do send them in when I probably would prefer them to stay at home only for the school to then ask me to take them home. We all know that they aren't really able to be in school and would probably benefit from a quiet day in bed but that doesn't look good on the OFSTED ratings which the school do care about. Going in and getting a tick in the register then coming home is better on paper than having a proper rest.

wherethekestrelscall Sun 23-Dec-18 10:01:46

I think the reason that schools get frustrated is the amount of parents who lie to them. Children are 'ill' when they're actually on holiday, or having a duvet day, or a shopping day, or parents gave got an appointment themselves etc etc etc. If all parents were honest and sent their children to school every day except when they're genuinely too ill to be there, then schools wouldn't be chasing doctors' notes when children are off sick.

bluefolder Sun 23-Dec-18 10:07:46

But as a gp, if a parent tells me their child has had d and v, how do I prove it, unless they puke all over me?

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