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B.C. doctors ask employers to stop requiring sick notes amid pandemic staffing challenges

Doctors say the notes place unnecessary burden on already busy medical system

The Doctors of BC are once again asking employers across the province to stop asking for sick notes.

The plea, coming from an association of 14,000 physicians, residents and medical students, echoes similar asks from the province’s top health officials.

Doctors of BC have been advocating for the end to sick notes for eight years.

“Sick notes place an unnecessary burden on the health care system particularly during the Omicron surge,” said president Dr. Ramneek Dosanjh. “With critical staffing shortages, let’s ensure that physicians and their teams spend their time with patients who need medical care and attention, not writing sick notes.”

The missive from the organization, mirrored by one from BC Family Doctors, has added weight in 2022, when all full-time, part-time and casual employees are eligible for five paid sick days.

“BC Family Doctors believes sick notes place an unnecessary burden on the health care system at a time when physicians are addressing the biggest public health challenge of our time,” the organization, which represents family doctors in B.C., stated. “The provision of a sick note, similar to completion of an insurance form, is not considered a medically necessary service.”

As such, patients are often charged a fee for the sick note.


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