Doctors are being asked to provide medical clearance to patients who have completed a 14-day period of self-isolation due to COVID-19.
NSW Health has provided advice stating that doctors are unable to issue ‘medical clearance certificates’ because there is no testing that can be conducted to predict whether or not patients will become unwell if they are currently symptom free (view NSW Health coronavirus FAQs).
The only type of ‘certification’ a GP can provide is to the effect that, on the day of assessment, the patient was symptom free (this relies on a patient history and the patient being honest) and had no clinical features to indicate a viral infection. These are relatively limited but would include normal temperature and heart rate, nil respiratory distress, clear chest, no rhinorrhoea or pharyngitis.
If a patient presents with the requisite travel history and provides the GP with a history of having been in isolation for 14 days, a doctor could write a letter to this effect:
I assessed … on … which they state is 14 days since their self-isolation.
On assessment today, they did not present with any clinical features suggestive of a viral infection.
The corresponding medical record will need to reflect a history and examination that supports this assessment and if relevant, the date on their travel documents regarding arrival in Australia.
For more information, visit the RACGP’s website and the Australian Government Department of Health website.
Advice in your state or territory
Government of Western Australia Department of Health
Northern Territory Government Department of Health
Tasmanian Government Department of Health
ACT Government Health
If you need further medico-legal advice regarding this issue, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 128 268, 24/7 in emergencies.