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6.5.1 Medical Certificates

In practice, most 'basic' certificates of incapacity are provided by General Practitioners (GPs), even where a person consults both a GP and a specialist.  Typically the GP has day-to-day responsibility for ongoing treatment including repeat prescription of medication and thus sees the patient on a regular basis.  Specialists are usually – though not always – consulted at longer intervals for more sophisticated investigations, surgery, formulation of new treatment strategies and in general, the overall management of the condition.  On the other hand, the person may consult either a GP or a specialist exclusively and some may even apply for incapacity payments while having no regular medical adviser able to provide a certificate.  Therefore, depending upon which of these circumstances apply, the requirements for the provision of medical certification may vary.