ANYBODY who has ever chucked a sickie knows the pain of stripping off pyjamas to get that pesky medical certificate your boss is hounding you for.But now you can get your sick note in the time it takes to put down your spoon full of chicken soup.
Dr Sicknote, a website established about nine days ago, consults patients through a video conference before emailing them their medical certificate at a cost of $20.
Website chief executive Dr Sachin Patel said there were already 125 registered users, ranging from uni students to near retirees, who got the day off work without even leaving their bed.
“We’re about doing things better,” Dr Patel said.
“Say you wake up ill at 8 or 9am and you try and get yourself together and make yourself presentable and get an appointment with a doctor — then you have to sit in a waiting room feeling dreadful and once you go home that’s a quarter of your day gone when you could’ve been resting.”
Dr Patel will grant days off to people with cold or flu symptoms, menstrual problems or other illnesses that don’t require a visit to the doctor.
He can also give leave to people who need the day off to care for somebody else and issue referrals to specialists.
“People who are going to try and do that will do it physically or online,” he said.
“The vast majority is honest and trustworthy.”
Australian Industry Group workplace relations policy head Stephen Smith had a different view.
“Web services which provide medical certificates are of obvious concern to employers,” he said.
“Obvious reasons, in most cases a doctor will be unable to conclude that a person is genuinely sick without having any physical contact with the person.
“Under the Fair Work Act, an employer is entitled to require an absent employee to provide evidence of illness of injury. The Act states that it must be ‘evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person’.
“Many employers are likely to take the view that they are not satisfied with the certificates provided by these websites, so employees would be wise to not use such services.”
Dr Patel said the website saved patients’ and doctors’ time and saved the government money from Medicare.
“I think this is the first step in a variety of positive changes that are going to happen,” he said.
“We are trying to create an online medical service because people are so connected now.”
Pharmacists also have the power to grant sick leave certificates to people who don’t want to visit their GP.
Pharmacy Guild of Australia NSW branch president Paul Sinclair said pharmacists assessed symptoms themselves.
“It’s not a medical consultation, it’s for minor ailments,” he said.