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‘Weekly’ certs not required for staff self-isolating, HSE confirms

By Mindo - 29th Apr 2020

The HSE asked managers to refrain from requesting two separate medical certificates for healthcare staff absent from work because of a 14 day self-isolation period. 

The move comes following ongoing criticism from GPs across the country at the HSE’s insistence that staff be issued weekly certificates by their GP. 

In a circular to GPs, issued on 20 April the HSE Corporate Employee Relations Service clarified that managers “should not be seeking two separate medical certificates in relation to each week of a 14 day self-isolation period where an employee’s general practitioners has provided on their behalf a single certificate to cover 14 days”. 

“The normal requirement for employees to submit GP medical certification at weekly intervals does not apply in such cases and managers should be aware of this when engaging with staff who have been medically advised by their GP to self-isolate.”

Due to the ongoing public health emergency, thousands of frontline healthcare staff have been forced to self-isolate for a two-week period after being in contact with a person with Covid-19. 

Up to midnight on 26 April, more than 5,400 healthcare workers in Ireland had contracted SARS CoV-2. 

In recent weeks GPs have taken to social media to condemn HSE requests for employees to provide weekly certificates.

A number of GPs on Twitter also criticised County Councils and Government departments for operating a similar policy. 

Several GPs called on the HSE to its position, given the public health emergency and increased GP workload. Anecdotally, it was reported that some managers were accepting 14 day certificates for staff self-isolating, while others were not. 

Other GPs called on the Executive to accept electronic certificates via SMS or email, instead of written GP certificates, in order to help reduce the burden on GPs to issue paper certificates. 

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