RACGP issues call to ECEC providers: “stop asking for COVID-19 clearance certificates”
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has again called on early childhood education and care (ECEC) managers, other employers, and school principals to stop requiring employees, students and parents to provide a “medical clearance” or certificate stating that they do not have the COVID-19 virus.
To support those employees, parents and students who have received such a request the RACGP has produced a letter template for their usual GP to sign clearly stating that doctors are unable to routinely provide patients with such a clearance.
Testing resources, the letter notes, “should only be available to people who have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, patients who have symptoms such as fever or cough as well as healthcare workers.”
Dr Harry Nespolon, RACGP President said that the continued clearance requests were “an ongoing source of frustration for GPs and the patients they care for”.
“Requiring employees, students or parents of children in day care to have some sort of ‘medical clearance’ or certificate stating that they don’t have COVID-19 is a waste of a patient’s time and a GP’s time. This has been going on for months, it is unnecessary and it needs to stop right away,” he emphasised.
“This is another COVID-19 myth that must be busted. An employer, principal or day care manager is not allowed to dictate that an employee, child or student must have a certificate to return safely to a workplace, primary school, secondary school or day care facility.”
Dr Nespolon said that such demands had unintended consequences for general practice.
“Requiring people to have a ‘clearance’ or certificate chews up valuable time that could be spent treating sick patients who need our care, including vulnerable groups such as people with multiple chronic diseases,” he added.
“Please think about others and the pressures already placed on GP clinics and don’t ask anyone to provide a medical ‘clearance’ or certificate. We need to focus on those who are actually unwell,” Dr Nespolon said.
“We don’t have a limitless supply of testing kits and it’s important to apply a common sense application of how they are used during this pandemic,” he concluded.
For the latest advice about managing COVID-19 in ECEC settings, please see here.