What is a Medical Certificate?

A medical certificate is a formal document that confirms a person has undergone a medical examination and provides a brief overview of their medical condition. This certificate is usually issued by a general practitioner or other qualified medical practitioners.

Also known as a doctor’s certificate, a medical certificate typically indicates whether a person is unfit for work due to their health issues. It’s usually required in situations where an individual needs to take sick leave or a carer’s leave. The certificate serves as evidence of illness or the need to care for an immediate family or household member.

In Australia, you can get a doctor’s certificate through an in-person or telehealth consultation, depending on your condition.

The Purposes of a Medical Certificate

More than just a sick note from a doctor, a medical certificate plays a key role in various aspects of work and personal life. Here are some of its most important functions:

  • Proof of Illness or Injury: It confirms that a person has a health condition that justifies their absence from work or other commitments.
  • Sick Leave: It’s used to apply for sick leave entitlements, showing an employer that the absence is due to legitimate medical reasons.
  • Carer’s Leave: If caring for an immediate family or household member, it can support a request for a carer’s leave.

What Should Be Included in a Medical Certificate?

According to the Australian Medical Association (AMA) guidelines, a medical certificate should show the following information:

  • Name of the Patient: It must clearly state the person’s full name.
  • Date of the Medical Examination: The date when the patient was examined.
  • Health Condition: A brief description of the patient’s health issue based on their symptoms and the doctor’s own observations.
  • Degree of Incapacity: If applicable, how the condition affects the patient’s ability to work or perform daily activities.
  • Duration of Absence: The suggested period the patient should be off work or school.
  • Medical Practitioner’s Details: The name, qualifications, and contact details of the healthcare professional issuing the certificate.
  • Date of Issuance: The date when the certificate was issued. This must coincide with the date of the medical exam. These cannot be backdated.
  • Signature: The medical practitioner’s signature to validate the certificate.
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Will Specific Details of My Illness Be Reflected in the Medical Certificate?

In Australia, medical certificates don’t typically include specific details of a person’s illness. The medical practitioner issuing the certificate focuses on providing just enough information to validate your need for sick leave or carer’s leave.

This means the certificate will mention your health condition in general terms. It will not delve into your detailed medical history or any sensitive personal health details unless with proper patient consent. This ensures that the patient’s right to privacy is respected and upheld.

Medical Certificate for Sick Leave

The Fair Work Act 2009 grants personal leave to sick employees. However, they must submit an example medical certificate to be approved for sick leave, subject to individual workplace policies. Here’s what you need to know about medical certificates for sick leave.

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Types of Sick Leave Certificates

Single-Day Sick Leave Certificates: These are issued for short-term illnesses, confirming that a person is unfit for work for a single day due to a health condition.

Multi-Day Sick Leave Certificates: Used for longer periods of illness (maximum of 3 days), these certificates cover multiple days, indicating a more extended absence from work due to health issues.

Carer’s Certificate: This certificate is provided when an individual needs to take time off to care for an immediate family or household member who is ill or injured.

When Should You Submit a Medical Certificate for Sick Leave?

You should provide a medical certificate to your employer as soon as possible, often within a day or two of your absence. This timing can vary based on your employer’s specific policy. Some workplaces might require a certificate for even a single day off, while others may only need it for longer absences.

If you’re taking an extended period of sick leave, it’s especially important to submit the certificate promptly. This ensures your absence is justified and your sick leave entitlements are protected under the Fair Work Act 2009.

How Many Sick Days Can You Take Without a Doctor’s Certificate?

It depends on your workplace’s policy. Generally, you can take one or two days without needing a medical certificate. However, this can vary. Some employers might require a certificate for any sick leave, while others may be more lenient and only require statutory declaration if you’ll only miss work for a day.

For further information, check your employment contract or consult with your HR department for specific guidelines.


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What to Do If You Can't Get a Medical Certificate

There are lots of reasons why you may not be able to get a medical certificate.

For one, a doctor might refuse to issue a certificate if they believe there’s not enough evidence of illness or if their own observations don’t support the need for sick leave. Some conditions will be inappropriate to diagnose via a telehealth consultation. In these cases, you must present to a GP in person to undergo a physical examination.

In some cases, getting a medical certificate can be hard because the closest doctor is a few miles away, or you’re too busy to squeeze in a visit to the doctor. In such cases, Instant Consult can help. With our telehealth consultations, you can get a medical certificate quickly and conveniently wherever you are in Australia.

How to Get a Medical Certificate Online

Securing an online medical certificate with Instant Consult is so easy and straightforward:

1. Sign up for an Account: Download the Instant Consult app and sign up for an account.

2. Book a Consultation: On the home screen, click on the “Request a Consult” button. The first available doctor will connect with you within 15 minutes.

3. Chat With Our Online Doctor: Tell your doctor about your symptoms and medical history. They may also ask for information about your job to assess how your condition can affect your capacity to work.

4. Receive Your Medical Certificate: If your doctor deems it necessary, they will issue a medical certificate depending on your needs. It will be sent to your Instant Consult inbox. You can print it out to present in person or email it to your employer.

Why Get Your Medical Certificate at Instant Consult?

Looking to get your medical certificate online? Here’s why Instant Consult is the best choice:

  • Convenience at Your Fingertips: No need to leave your home or wait in long queues. Instant Consult connects you with doctors online, anytime, anywhere.
  • Fast and Efficient Service: Our streamlined process ensures you receive your medical certificate swiftly, often within minutes of your consultation.
  • Professional and Accredited Doctors: Consult with fully registered and AHPRA-accredited Australian doctors.
  • Flexible Hours: We have doctors available from 6 AM to midnight AEST every day, catering to your busy schedule.
  • Bulk-Billing: If you have a valid Medicare card, consults are bulk-billed for patients 12 months and younger.

Not only that, Instant Consult doctors also provide a comprehensive range of health services – not just medical certificates. They can also give medical advice, online prescriptions, X-ray requests, blood test requests, and even specialist referrals.

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