The DoH has moved to clarify the situation after Dr Peter Swinyard, chairman of The Family Doctor Association (FDA), raised concerns that GPs were unsure of the legal position.
Ian Dalton, the director of flu resilience for England, has written to Dr Swinyard to say that a GP may, at their discretion, issue a medical statement after a telephone consultation once they are assured of the identity of the caller as a registered patient.
As with issuing any medical statement or certificate, the GP also needs to be assured they are able to make an adequate assessment of the patient's fitness or non fitness for work.
Dr Swinyard said: ‘This really is a very helpful letter as it clarifies a very difficult legal position and allows us to certify flu victims without seeing them.
‘The next practical step is to extend this to our own telephone consultations and the FDA will continue to press for developments in this area.'