Medical certificates and reporting absences

Information on reporting absences and how to request medical certificates.

Doctors' notes

For absences of five or less working days, employers are responsible for providing self-certification forms for members of their staff. If your employer requires a doctor's note for absences of five days or less, there is a fee payable as this falls under the heading of non-NHS work.

The doctor will only provide you with a sick note if you are going to be absent from work for more than five working days – you will be required to see the doctor to obtain this.

For a continuation sick note, you can phone the Surgery on +44 (0)117 32 86666 to request another sick note. The doctor may ring you for more information.

Medical certification for personal circumstances (formerly extenuating circumstances)

You may find it helpful to talk to a Student Support Adviser about your circumstances. They can advise you of the personal circumstances procedure (formerly called extenuating circumstances).

A personal circumstances application may be submitted if something happens to you that impacts on your ability to complete, submit or attend a specific assessment and is significantly disruptive and outside of your control.

In order to submit an application for personal circumstances, you should refer to the personal circumstances information. For medical conditions you will be required to provide a medical certificate (that the University Health Centre can give you if you are registered).

The conditions unlikely to be accepted as personal circumstances are:

  • colds or known conditions such as hay fever; sore throats or sprains (other than in the writing hand/arm)
  • accidents/illness affecting relatives or friends unless serious, or if you are a sole carer/have a disability so are disproportionately affected
  • normal examination stress or anxiety experienced during revision or the assessment period, unless corroborated by medical evidence as a chronic condition and you are undergoing treatment
  • stress in practice placement
  • non-serious domestic, social or personal disruptions: moving house, change of job, holidays, weddings, normal job pressure, failed travel arrangements, financial difficulties, oversleeping
  • study-related circumstances: equipment failure including computing/printer difficulties (unless they occur in the examination itself), failure to have taken back-up copies for work stolen or corrupted, bunching of deadlines/examinations, missing books, poor time management, misreading the examination timetable, taking the wrong examination
  • cultural adjustment/assimilation
  • difficulty with the English language
  • different teaching methods in the United Kingdom to a home university
  • anxiety caused by visa issues
  • examination conditions: disruption in the examination room, excessive noise, behaviour of other students. Normally, these conditions will be reported to the invigilators who will pass the reports onto the faculty to be dealt with as appropriate.

We are unable to provide retrospective medical certification (ie if you were recently unwell but have now recovered). We can only provide medical certification if you are currently unwell and this is confirmed at an examination at the University Health Centre or the Old School Surgery.

How to obtain a medical certificate

  1. If you believe there are grounds to submit a personal circumstances request because you are currently unwell, you should complete the standard university Medical Certificate of Illness form.
  2. You should then make an appointment for an examination at the University Health Centre, and bring the medical certification form with you.
  3. The form will be completed in the GP/nurse practitioner’s time, and available for collection within one to three working days.
  4. There is a charge of £15 for a medical certificate of illness as this service is not covered by the NHS. You will need to pay this fee before collecting the form from the Health Centre reception.

Reporting absences

You may be on a UWE Bristol programme that requires all your periods of absence to be formally reported. Talk to your faculty to find out if this will apply to you.

Minor illness

If a minor illness stops you attending for a short time, you do not need to let your faculty know unless:

  • your faculty requires you to do so
  • you are on a professional programme, in which case you must contact your faculty for specific instructions.

Serious illness

If a serious illness or infectious condition is likely to stop you attending for a long time, please notify a Student Support Adviser who can provide you with information and advice or can signpost you to other specialist services where appropriate.

Healthcare support

Please take a look at our Wellbeing Service pages if you feel that you need support with your mental health and personal development needs.

If you aren't already a patient with the University Health Centre you can find out how to register. In you have any questions please get in touch.

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