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'Obesity can be managed by GPs'

Dr Christine Dewbury is correct in stating that GPs do not have to provide short-term certificates (Features, February 12).

Rather than waste time arguing with patients who demand one, I hand over a copy of a standard note instead, for them to pass to their employers.

The note reads: 'Your employee has a minor illness which should settle within a week. As you know, there is no legal need for a GP to issue an NHS sicknote in these circumstances. You should instead accept a self-certificate (SCI).

'If you demand a doctor's note for illnesses lasting less than seven working days, in order to monitor absenteeism, we can provide them, but you must pay a private fee (currently £10). Your employee should not be expected to pay this fee.

'Please ring the surgery if you wish to discuss the issuing of private sicknotes.'

I rarely hear any more from them.

Dr JF Burscough


North Lincolnshire

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