The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has sprung to the defence of its members’ right to write sick notes after a key business leader said bosses would frown on the practice.
Innes Willox, chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, said many employers would likely not be satisfied with sickness certificates “obtained from a chain store pharmacy”.
“Pharmacists are not doctors, and the Fair Work Act makes no reference to them being appropriately qualified to issue medical certificates for the purposes of personal/carer’s leave entitlements,” Mr Willox was quoted in media as saying.
A reporter, who was not unwell, had paid $20 for an absence-from-work certificate at a Chemist Warehouse outlet, the organisation said.
But PSA President Shane Jackson said issuing sickness certificates was within pharmacists’ scope of practice under strict industry guidelines recognised by Fair Work Australia.
“These guidelines have been successfully used by the pharmacy profession for more than eight years and they are very clear for pharmacists about only issuing an absence-from-work certificate for illnesses or injury that are within the scope of practice of a pharmacist,” Dr Jackson said.
“Pharmacists can only issue certificates in relation to conditions (illness or injuries) they are professionally qualified to assess.”
Under the guidelines, pharmacists were entitled to and should charge a consultation fee for issuing a certificate, the PSA said.
Mr Willox also criticised online services that dispense sick notes for a fee, saying he doubted doctors could conclude t a patient was “genuinely sick” without seeing them.