How to Get A Backdated Medical Certificate?

Getting a backdated medical certificate in Australia can be a bit tricky. It’s important to know that most medical practitioners, including our doctors at Instant Consult, do not issue backdated medical certificates. This is in line with the guidelines of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the legal requirements under the Fair Work Act 2009.

While the issue date of the certificate will always be the date of examination, our doctors can state for the period of leave to cover up to 24 hours prior to the consultation date (covering a maximum of three days total).

In some cases, a doctor can add additional information to the medical certificate certifying that the period of illness occurred prior to the consultation date. This must be requested during the consultation and is always up to the doctor’s discretion as to whether they deem it to be appropriate.

Though we can’t provide backdated certificates, getting a medical certificate is now a lot easier with Instant Consult. Our telehealth consultation services connect you with an AHPRA-accredited and registered medical practitioner, allowing you to get a legitimate doctor’s certificate without needing an in-person visit.

Can I Get a Medical Certificate for Yesterday?

It’s possible to get a medical certificate that covers yesterday’s date, however, the AMA requires that medical certificates should be dated on the day the consultation took place. So, a backdated medical certificate can be a red flag for employers, especially if it’s used to obtain leave entitlements or other forms of compensation.

Besides, most doctors in Australia won’t backdate a certificate as doing so can lead to legal action against them.

That’s not to say, however, that you cannot get a medical certificate after your sick leave period has started. According to the Fair Work guidelines:

An employee has to let their employer know that they are going to take sick or carer’s leave. This has to be done as soon as possible and can be after the leave has started. They should also specify how long they will be off or expect to be off work.

This means that you can consult with a doctor and get a medical certificate that covers your sick leave for yesterday, even if you’ve already returned to work today. However, the date on the certificate will be the date the consultation happened and not the day you got sick.

Note that if too much time has passed between your sick leave period and the medical certificate consultation, your doctor may refuse to issue a certificate for the sick leave in question.

Are Backdated Medical Certificates Legal?

Backdated medical certificates are a complex issue in Australia. Doctors are legally required to date certificates on the date of their consultation with the patient. So, backdating a medical certificate is not only a questionable practice but can also be downright illegal.

According to the AMA guidelines, a doctor’s certificate must be dated on the day they were written. Under no circumstances should certificates be backdated.

Yes, a doctor can certify that you were sick before the date of examination. But they may not always be open to doing so, especially if it’s a small illness that they can’t see signs of on the day they examine you. If necessary, the doctor might add extra comments to explain why they think you were sick earlier.

In addition, for a medical certificate to be valid, it must contain the following information:

  • the name and address of the doctor issuing the certificate
  • the details of the patient
  • the date when the consultation happened
  • the date when the certificate was issued (this is the same as the date of examination or consultation)
  • the recommended duration of absence from work or other activities

The Significance of Medical Certificates

Medical certificates are considered legal documents and serve lots of purposes, such as:

  • Verification of Health Conditions: They provide official verification from a registered medical practitioner about your health status. This is essential for medical conditions that affect your ability to work or require special considerations. Please note: an Instant Consult doctor will not be able to diagnose your condition if it requires a physical examination. You will need to present to a GP in person.
  • Legitimacy for Sick Leave: To take a sick leave, a medical certificate is often required by employers. It justifies your absence from work due to health reasons.
  • Compliance with Workplace Policies: Many workplaces in Australia have policies that require a doctor’s certificate for absences due to illness. This helps in maintaining fair workplace practices.
doctor typing on a laptop to issue a backdated medical certificate

How to Get a Valid Medical Certificate in Australia

While Australian employment laws grant sick leave entitlements, the challenge of getting a sick note from a doctor often prevents employees from taking a leave from work. Just the thought of booking an appointment with the doctor, driving to a clinic, and sitting in waiting rooms can sometimes make you sicker than you already are.

Fortunately for you, Instant Consult has made it easier to secure a valid example medical certificate from the comfort of your home, wherever “home” might be in Australia. Whether you’re in a bustling city like Melbourne or in the rural outbacks, you don’t have to worry about waiting for your GP clinic to open or drive for hours just to see a doctor.

With Instant Consult, you can get a medical certificate in three simple steps:

1. Book a Telehealth Consultation

Download the Instant Consult app, sign up for an account, and click on the “Request a Consult” button. The first available doctor will connect with you in 15 minutes or less.

2. Hop on a Video Consultation

Tell your doctor about your symptoms and when they started. Your doctor may also ask you to provide details on the nature of your work to determine how your condition can affect your work.

3. Receive Medical Certificate

If everything is in order, our doctor will issue a medical certificate, which will be delivered straight to the inbox of your Instant Consult account. It will stay there until you opt to delete it. You can print or download it and send it to your employer.

Are Online Medical Certificates Legal?

Absolutely! As long as the healthcare provider is fully registered and qualified, the medical certificate they issue online holds the same legal standing as one you would get from a face-to-face consultation.

At Instant Consult, our doctors are accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and practice to the standards of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). This means that all certificates they issue are valid across Australia.

Note, however, that certain medical conditions may still require a full physical examination for you to secure a doctor’s certificate.

Types of Medical Certificates You Can Get Online

Our team of fully qualified general practice doctors can issue different types of medical certificates for school or work, including:

  • Single-Day Sick Leave: This certificate is for when you’re sick just for one day, confirming that you need to stay home and rest for that specific day.
  • Multi-Day Sick Leave: This one’s for when you’re sick for a few days. It shows you need several days to get better. Our doctors cannot issue a certificate that covers more than 2 to 3 days of absence.
  • Carer’s Certificate: It’s for when you need to take time off to look after a family member who is unwell. It confirms you’re required to be at home for a bit.

Why Choose Instant Consult?

With over five years of making healthcare more accessible, choosing Instant Consult means you get to enjoy:

  • Convenience: You can consult with a doctor from the comfort of your home. This is especially helpful if you’re feeling unwell.
  • Time-Saving: No need to travel or wait in a clinic. It’s a quick and efficient way to get a medical certificate.
  • Extended Hours: Our doctors are available from 6 AM to midnight AEST every day. This means you can get a medical certificate even after hours, on a weekend, and even on public holidays.
  • Access to Qualified Professionals: We connect you with registered medical practitioners, ensuring professional and reliable consultations.
  • Privacy and Security: Your personal health information is handled with confidentiality and consultations are done on a one-on-one basis. So everything stays between you and your doctor.
  • Immediate Documentation: You often receive your medical certificate immediately after the consultation. It’s great if you are in urgent need of a sick note from a doctor.
  • Comprehensive Care: Besides medical certificates, our doctors can also provide medical advice, prescriptions, and referrals if necessary – all during a single consultation.
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