There is an increasing tendency for educational institutions to seek GP confirmation where a student may have been absent from attending exams or classes due to ill health.  We are increasingly being asked to spend time writing letters to confirm periods of absence that we often know nothing about, or to confirm that students have been, or will be, unable to sit exams, or submit coursework, due to problems that the Institution may already be well aware of.  This is an inappropriate use of your GP's time and is a growing problem.   Parents are responsible for providing reasons for their children's absences from school, and students, as adults, are responsible for providing reasons for their absences from university or college. 

There is no obligation for GPs to provide such reports or letters as part of the National Health Service, and Department of Work and Pensions Medical Certificates cannot be issued, as these are legal documents used exclusively for employment and social security purposes. Such reports or letters therefore fall into the same category of private services that occupational health reports for employers currently occupy, and they will be charged for accordingly.

Should an educational institution insist on a Doctor's letter, they themselves should submit a written enquiry to the GP,  including the appropriate signed consent of the student that gives explicit permission for the release of information from their medical record. The appropriate consent form can be downloaded here:

Student Consent Form

In all cases, this type of letter or report will attract a fee commensurate with the amount of GP and administrative time involved in its preparation.

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