Covid-19 Fitness to Fly & Covid Certificates
Fitness to Fly
Fitness to fly certificates are not part of GMS contractual work and so GPs are under no obligation to issue them. If you do decide to issue a certificate then you can charge a private fee.
The BMA advises caution when considering undertaking this sort of work as there can be potential medico-legal implications.
‘We discourage doctors from signing certificates which indicate that the patient will, for example, be fit for the duration of the holiday, as current fitness is not a guide to future fitness. Doctors can only report on what is written in the patient notes, and reporting on future fitness could have medico-legal consequences for you.’
Fitness to fly assessments can be complex and may require specialist training or knowledge especially when advising around patients with underlying chronic health conditions.
There are specialist private clinics that can undertake these assessments and provide necessary certificates.
One also has to be mindful that the NHS Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice will not cover liabilities arising from the issuing of one of these certificates so any clinician issuing a certificate would need to check that their MDO covers this.
Some patients may be asking for ‘Covid certificates’. Again, there is no contractual requirement to provide these. Covid swabbing for asymptomatic patients is not currently available in primary care. Antibody testing is currently being targeted at front line staff and those patients having blood tests for other reasons. Furthermore, the significance of antibody test results is as yet unknown, giving no assurances about whether someone has had past or current infection or lasting immunity.