Doctors at Pemberton clinic call on employers to stop asking for sick notes

Woman posts photo of letter on Facebook she received when asking for medical note.

Doctors at a medical clinic in Pemberton are handing out letters instead of sick notes, asking employers to stop requiring sick notes and wasting people’s time.

Local resident Becca Moriarty, 26, posted a photo of the letter to her Facebook page this week, after going in to get a sick note for her boss.

The letter says a policy requiring a sick note for missed time puts an “added burden” on the healthcare system, taking up resources that could be used on people are who actually ill.

“People seeking sick notes — who otherwise wouldn’t see a doctor — end up in physicians’ offices, walk-in clinics and emergency department waiting rooms,” it says. “There, they may spread germs to pregnant women, frail elderly people, cancer patients and babies — all of whom are vulnerable to communicable disease.”

It also says the doctors find it difficult to charge someone for a requirement from their employer, since sick notes aren’t insured by MSP, and gives the employer a warning: continue to require medical notes and be prepared to receive a $50 invoice for each one.

“As Canadian residents, we are lucky to have our healthcare system, but citizens’ inability to access the systems services in a timely fashion is a growing problem,” the letter says. “I hope you will consider changing your current absenteeism policy to help reduce the unnecessary burden on our health-care system and improve access for all British Columbians.”

When she handed the letter to her boss, she said the reaction was “complete confusion.”

Moriarty – who works in the food industry – added she sees both sides to the issue of sick notes.

“I understand the employer needs to know, but that comes down to: we’re adults, this isn’t school anymore, I don’t need a note from my mom saying I’m not going to be at school,” she said, adding she’d much rather be at work making money than sick at home.

A person who answered the phone at the clinic said the doctors do not wish to be interviewed.


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