Referral to the Occupational Health Service
Line Managers should consult with Human Resources when they wish to refer employees to the Occupational Health Service for medical assessment or examination. The manager should discuss the reasons for doing so and seek advice on completion of the referral form. The intention should then be discussed with the employee and the reasons for referral explained to them. A referral form is completed, signed and sent to Occupational Health by the referring manager or member of the Human Resources team. This form contains information outlining the circumstances for referral and relevant questions to be answered and should be made available to the employee if requested. The Occupational Health Service will advise on an appointment date and time and the manager will notify the employee. Follow up appointments will be made directly by the Occupational Health Service with the employee
Following the consultation at the Occupational Health Service a report will be returned to management advising on relevant issues. The contents of this report will be discussed and agreed with the employee at the time of the Occupational Health Service appointment. The employee is entitled to a copy of this report if required. Medical details about individuals will only be made available to managers in so far as it is necessary to enable them to discharge their management responsibilities.
Guidance documentation identifies seven situations where confidential information can be disclosed;
- With the consent of the employee.
- If disclosure is clearly in the patient’s interest but it is not possible or undesirable to seek consent.
- If it is required by law.
- If it is unequivocally in the public interest.
- If it is necessary to safeguard national security or to prevent a serious crime.
- If it will prevent a serious risk to public health.
- In certain circumstances for the purposes of medical research.
Where disclosure is considered necessary by the Occupational Health staff, they will first seek guidance from a higher authority or a professional governing body. If information disclosed falls within the category of posing a danger to the health and safety of any person, a criminal offence, or fails to comply with any legal obligation whether it is confidential or not is irrelevant.
The Access to Medical Reports Act 1988 applies when the Occupational Health Service seeks a medical report from an employee’s general practitioner or any other medical practitioner who is or who has been responsible for the clinical care of the employee. This may be requested when further information is required to assist Occupational Health staff in the case management of an employee. Occupational Health staff will;
1. Obtain the employee’s informed written consent for the application of the report.
2. Inform the employee of his or her right to
- Withhold consent to the application being made.
- Access the report before it is supplied.
- Where it has been indicated that the individual wishes to see the report he/she has 21 days from date of consent to make arrangements. If arrangements have not been made within that time the doctor may send the report regardless.
- Withhold consent once the employee has seen the report.
- Request amendments to the report or include a statement from the employee.
- Access the report for up to 6 months after it has been supplied.
Failure to give consent will be notified to the referring manager and they may then have to base their decisions solely on the information that is available to them.
Notice of Proposal to Apply for a Medical Report for Employment Purposes - this form is currently being updated - for the latest version please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.