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Management referral to Occupational Health Service - staff information sheet

  1. What is Occupational Health Service (OHS)?
  2. Why have I been referred?
  3. What will happen when I arrive for my appointment?
  4. What do I bring to the appointment?
  5. What will be said in the letter to managers?
  6. Who will see my Occupational Health records?
  7. Can I have a copy of the letter from Occupational Health to my manager?
  8. Will Occupational health write to my general practitioner / hospital specialist for information?
  9. What if I have already returned to work or my general practitioner has given me a date to return within the next few days?
  10. What if I do not wish to attend an appointment in the OHS?
  11. What if I cannot make this particular appointment date?
  12. What if I am too unwell to attend OHS?

1. What is Occupational Health Service (OHS)?

The OHS is a confidential advisory service; one of its roles is to provide advice regarding fitness for work to line managers, who are responsible for the monitoring and control of staff sickness absence.  This advice is aimed at assisting staff to regain and retain their good health and return to work.  

2. Why have I been referred?

This may be due to a number of reasons i.e. supporting you at work with health related issues.

The University’s sickness absence procedure advises managers to refer staff experiencing prolonged or frequent sickness absence to the Occupational Health Service. The trigger periods for this are 8 working days or more than 4 occasions in any preceding 12 month period for self certified absence and more than 15 working days for long term absence.  Your manager should normally have discussed the purpose of the referral with you pre referral.  Normally an OHS appointment should provide advice for the individual and your manager regarding the likely duration of sickness absence, the functional effects of any ill health on your work, how the your health affects your ability to work, and suggested rehabilitation approaches back into the workplace where appropriate.

If you have any queries regarding the referral then you should discuss this with your line manager, Head of School/Unit or Human Resources in the first instance.

3. What will happen when I arrive for my appointment?

The Occupational Health Adviser or Physician will introduce herself to you and explain the purpose of the assessment.  If a physical examination is likely to be desirable this will be explained.  The doctor or nurse will then ask for your written consent to proceed with the assessment.

4. What do I bring to the appointment?

It would be helpful for you to bring a list with you of any medication you are currently on and any Doctor or Specialist names and addresses when you attend the appointment.

5. What will be said in the letter to managers?

After assessment the Occupational Health Service report to managers will be discussed with you in detail.  This may include likely duration of sickness absence, the day to day effect of any permanent or short term disability and subsequence advice on restrictions to normal duties, which may enable an earlier return to work and rehabilitation.  Please note that any restrictions/changes to your work are for recommendation only and need to be discussed with the Head of School/Unit and Human Resources prior to any change being implemented.              

6. Who will see my Occupational Health records?

The standards of confidentiality for records held by your general practitioner or any hospital specialist you may have seen also apply to occupational health records.  Consequently, neither your manager nor Human Resources has access to your records.  Details of your records will only be released with your permission or, in exceptional circumstances, as a legal or ethical requirement.

7. Can I have a copy of the letter from Occupational Health to my manager?

Yes, you will automatically be copied into all correspondence.

8. Will Occupational health write to my general practitioner / hospital specialist for information?

If the Occupational Health Advisor (OHA) or Occupational Health Physician (OHP) believe that a report would be useful, the reasons for this will be discussed with you and a request made only with your informed written consent.  Your right to read any such report will be explained to you at this time. 

9. What if I have already returned to work or my general practitioner has given me a date to return within the next few days?

If your absence has been long term, you should still meet with OHS prior to any return to work.  Even if you are back at work, it is sometimes beneficial to attend the meeting.  If you are still unsure you should discuss the ongoing need for an OHS appointment with your manager.

10. What if I do not wish to attend an appointment in the OHS?

Without the benefit of guidance from the OHS your managers may make decisions regarding your ongoing employment based on the information available to them.  It is therefore in your interest to attend the OHS.  Alternatively the OHP or OHA will discuss any concerns you may have about the appointment on the day but will not proceed any further without your consent.

11. What if I cannot make this particular appointment date?

If you are unable to attend please inform the OHA as early as possible in order that the appointment may be offered to another member of staff, and another appointment be rescheduled for you. 

12. What if I am too unwell to attend OHS?

Please contact the Occupational Health Service and advise the Occupational Health Advisor.  Arrangements can be made for a home visit, telephone conversations, or written consent sought to contact your General Practitioner for a report.