Medical cert a real sickener for Limerick retailer

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

A RETAILER is considering a formal complaint in respect of a city GP he says approved a sick note for an employee who was hundreds of miles away at a continental wedding.

A RETAILER is considering a formal complaint in respect of a city GP he says approved a sick note for an employee who was hundreds of miles away at a continental wedding.

Shane Gleeson, who runs Spar on Catherine Street, alerted the GP representative group, the Irish Medical Organisation, to claims one of its members had issued the certificate to excuse from work a member of staff who wasn’t even assessed. According to Mr Gleeson, the worker arranged for a friend to pay the clinic €10 and collect the cert.

After initiating a disciplinary process, Mr Gleeson was told that this was the second occasion his employee had got a cert from the same GP . He estimates the total loss to his business at around €1,500.

Mr Gleeson said he happened to be in Shannon Airport when his supposedly ill employee came through arrivals.

“When I checked my file, there was sick cert issued on a day when my staff member was abroad attending the wedding. So he was about four or five days out of the country when a sick cert issued from a doctor here in Ireland,” he said.

He wrote to the IMO, who advised that his time would have been better employed lodging a complaint with the Medical Council, the statutory body which regulates the profession.

“The IMO is the representative body for doctors in Ireland and does not have the authority to investigate the clinical practice of clinicians or have any role in the regulation of doctors,” the IMO told the Limerick Leader.

Asked if they wished to comment on the issue in general, as opposed to the specific complaint, the IMO said it had “nothing further to add”.

Employers groups have in recent months criticised GPs for issuing sick certs too freely. But according to the Medical Council, only 10 complaints about medical certs have been received in the last four years - some of them from workers who complained their doctor would not issue them with one.