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Certificate of fitness / certificate of capacity

Outlines a recovery plan to get someone back to work (if possible) after a motor accident or work related injury. It is completed by the medical practitioner and the injured person.

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For motor accidents

The certificate of fitness helps the insurer develop a treatment plan with the injured person so they can recover following a motor accident injury.

What is it?

The certificate of fitness is used by the insurer to make decisions about an injured person's fitness for work (whether or not they are employed, unemployed or retired) because it provides a clear indication of recovery and the rehabilitation assistance the injured person may require.

The certificate of fitness tells the insurer:

  • the injured person's name and details
  • the type of injuries and date of accident
  • what treatment is planned
  • how the injuries impact the injured person's ability to do normal activities including work
  • the details of the medical practitioner who completed the assessment including their provider number.

Apart from our website, the certificate of fitness is available from all insurers. Most medical centres and hospitals will also have the certificate of fitness available for you to access.

Your role

As the registered medical practitioner, you are responsible for completing the doctor's part of the certificate of fitness. It should identify a clear medical diagnosis using acceptable medical terminology and identify any reasonable and necessary treatment.

Other health professionals (eg a physiotherapist) may give information to you, however they are not allowed to complete the certificate of fitness themselves.

When you assess an injured person's injuries and choose a treatment plan, you need to estimate how long before the injured person can return to normal activities or when they should be assessed again.

You should not issue a certificate of fitness that exceeds a 28-day period without providing special reasons why. See section 3.15(4)(a) of the Motor Accidents Injuries Act 2017 for more information.

For injuries that resolve quickly, it may mean that only one assessment is required. However for more serious injuries you may need to complete multiple certificates over the time it takes the injured person to recover.

The injured person's role

The injured person is responsible for providing the insurer with an initial certificate of fitness and their CTP claim form(s). They are also responsible for maintaining a valid certificate of fitness throughout their recovery.

Weekly benefits may be suspended if a valid certificate of fitness is not received by the insurer. See section 3.15(6) for more information.

It is important that the injured person attends all appointments with you and that you both remember to have the certificate of fitness completed each time.

Consent

The injured person should sign the consent section of the certificate of fitness to enable communication about their injury between treating health practitioners, the insurer, employer and other relevant parties.

Further information

Disputes

Sometimes there can be disputes about compensation. If there's a dispute, there's help available. Our motor accidents injury disputes section has more information.

For workers compensation

The certificate of capacity is used in the NSW workers compensation system to describe the nature of a worker's injury/illness, their capacity for work and the treatment required for a safe and durable recovery at work.

What is it?

The certificate of capacity is used by the insurer to make decisions about a worker's capacity for work and their entitlement to compensation.

It will help the insurer, the worker and their employer develop an injury management plan concerning the treatment, rehabilitation and retraining required (where appropriate) for a successful recovery at/return to work outcome for the worker.

The certificate of capacity tells the insurer:

  • the worker's name and details
  • the type of injury/illness and date it occurred
  • what treatment is planned
  • how the injuries impact the worker's ability to do normal activities including work
  • the details of the medical practitioner who completed the certificate including their provider number.

It also helps the employer find suitable work for the worker so they can recover at work with appropriate support.

Who completes the certificate of capacity?

The certificate of capacity is completed by the worker's nominated treating doctor or specialist in consultation with the worker.

If you are the doctor

If you are the worker's nominated treating doctor or treating specialist medical practitioner, you are responsible for completing the doctor's part of the certificate of capacity. It should identify a clear medical diagnosis using acceptable medical terminology and identify any reasonably necessary treatment.

When completing the 'capacity' section, you are certifying whether the worker has:

  • capacity for pre-injury duties
  • capacity for some type of work, or
  • no current work capacity.

If the worker has capacity for some type of work, you must identify the hours and days the worker has capacity to perform suitable work.

If you certify that the worker has no current work capacity, you should estimate the time needed for them to regain capacity.

You may also recommend referral to a workplace rehabilitation provider.

You should not issue a certificate of capacity that exceeds a 28-day period without stating special reasons why the certificate covers the longer period. See section 44B(4)(a) of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 for more information.

You are not allowed to backdate a certificate by more than 90 days.

If you are the worker

If you are the worker, there are two sections you need to review and complete. These are the 'worker consent' and 'worker declaration' sections.

By signing the consent section of the certificate, you approve of the following people collecting information from each other about your injury/illness (including personal information and health information about you):

  • treating health practitioners
  • the insurer
  • your employer
  • other relevant parties (such as a workplace rehabilitation provider).

As the worker, you are required to complete the declaration to report if you have been engaged in any form of employment, self-employment or voluntary work for which you received or are entitled to receive payment in money or otherwise since the last certificate of capacity was completed.

You must complete this declaration before the certificate of capacity is provided to your employer or the insurer (after your consultation with the medical practitioner).

Note: The worker declaration does not need to be completed by exempt categories of workers. Exempt workers are police officers, paramedics and fire fighters or emergency service volunteers.

Further information

Disputes

Sometimes there can be disputes about compensation. If there’s a dispute, there’s help available. Our workers compensation disputes section has more information.

The following publications may help you complete the certificate of capacity: