Issuing medical certificates and return to work

General practitioners (GPs) and nurse practitioners can issue a medical certificate if a patient needs time off work because of their injury.

Helping your patient return to work as soon as possible after their injury is a good way to help their recovery. When you assess your patient there’s a few things we need to know so we can provide the right support.

On this page

    Issuing a medical certificate

    As a GP or nurse practitioner you can issue a medical certificate as part of the initial ACC45 injury claim, or you can fill in an ACC18. This covers your patient for up to the first 14 days.

    Submit it through your practice management system or our online system. You can also send a paper version to your nearest ACC branch.

    Find your local branch

    Provide as much detail about your patient’s injury as you can. This helps us work out what support they need.

    You’ll need to issue a new medical certificate when the current one ends or if the patient’s situation changes.

    Assessing your patient

    When assessing your patient, keep in mind that we need the following information:

    • what type of work they do and the tasks involve
    • how long they’ve been doing that job
    • what their working conditions are like
    • problems or injuries they had before the accident
    • concerns or fears they have about returning to work
    • what tasks they’re still able to do
    • how long you think they’ll need to be off work.

    If you need help making a decision

    There may be cases where it's difficult to decide if your patient is ready to return to work, or you may not have enough information. Let us know on the ACC18 that you’d like us to contact you.

    We’ll get in touch and talk to you about referring your patient for an occupational assessment.

    Let us know about your patient's recovery plan

    Let us know when you’ve done the assessment and recovery plan. We’ll use this to support your patient's recovery. When you're putting a plan together, it's good to let us know about:

    • referrals or investigations they need
    • patient notes
    • what support you think they might need from us.

    What support we can offer your patient

    There are lots of different ways we can help your patient return to work. This may be through help at home, modifications at the workplace or transport costs. Tell us if your patient needs more help when you complete the ACC18.

    Returning to work after an injury

    Helping your patient return to work

    Your patient may still be able to work in some way. This could be returning part-time, or doing lighter or alternative jobs while they’re injured.

    If they go back to work in some way as part of their recovery plan, we’ll continue to provide the support they need. We may need to reduce their weekly compensation payments to reflect the work they’re doing.

    Talk about these options with your patient. If they’re unsure about what options are available at work, contact us. We can talk to their employer and look at alternatives with them.

    If your patient is unfit for work

    To decide if your patient is unfit for work they must not be able to:

    • travel to and from work
    • be at their place of work
    • do specified tasks at work.

    If they're fit for some work

    If you think your patient can do some tasks or parts of their job, state on the ACC18 that they're fit for selected duties. We’ll then work with you and your patient to look at different return to work options.

    Contact us

    It's best to use your patient's case owner as your first point of contact. Or you can contact our provider helpline.

    Phone 0800 222 070 (Monday to Friday 7am - 7pm)
    Email providerhelp@acc.co.nz

    Last published: 20/07/17