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In practice, most 'basic' certificates of incapacity are provided by GPs, even where a client consults both GP and specialist. (See 20.5.2 for the minimum information required of a certificate of incapacity.) 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, clients may consult either a GP or a specialist exclusively, and some clients 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 certification strategy should be as follows. These various sources of medical certification are a result of the Incapacity review project and are linked to the various review processes in place.