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Panminerva Medica 2013 March;55(1):99-105

lingua: Inglese

Absence from work and the medical sickness certificate

Massoni F., Salesi M., Sarra M. V., Ricci S.

Department of Anatomy, Histology, Forensic Medicine and Orthopedics, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy


Internet and dematerialization have greatly facilitated the medical profession. Contractual physicians and national health service doctors now have efficient tools for the electronic management of their routine administrative workload. A recent innovation is the medical sickness certificate issued by primary care providers and national health service physicians. Following postponements and uncertainties, procedures for the electronic completion and online transmission of the sickness certificate are now complete. The changes introduced by the so-called “Brunetta decree”, however, have made its application difficult and continuous improvement to the system is needed, considering also the severe penalties imposed for violations. In the light of serious legal repercussions for health care professionals, this article examines various critical issues, highlighting the pitfalls and the network’s enormous potential for ascertaining evidence of irregularities. The overheated debate on absenteeism due to illness, the diverse roles of national health physicians and self-employed doctors responsible for issuing a sickness certificate, and problems related to circumstances in which a doctor operates, are the key topics in this discussion. Computerization is an effective tool for optimizing public resources; however, it also seeks to ferret out, through the traceability of certification, abuse of medical certification, with severe penalties applied if certificates are discovered to contain misleading or untrue information.

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