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Time wasted on sick certificates

4 August 2011 - 12:40pm

Up to 1.5 million trips to the doctor every year are made for the purpose of obtaining a doctor's note to give to employers or a health insurance provider, according to the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA).

Sick certificates account for a large portion of time that doctors spend on paperwork as opposed to treating patients in need.

National president of the Pharmacy Guild Kos Sclavos says: "This is a serious and unnecessary drain on valuable health resources and taxpayers' dollars."

The PGA has called for more education on alternative ways of obtaining notes that are typically required by workplaces when employees have time to recovery from illness.

Under federal industrial law, pharmacists are able to issue notes for workers and these are considered to be the same as if they came from a GP.

Sclavos believes many aren't aware that the Fair Work Act grants this power to pharmacists by giving a flexible definition of the evidence that workers are obligated to provide to their employers.

The PGA's statement comes as the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has opened a survey for doctors to voice their issues with paperwork in the health sector.