Following routine Health Surveillance, some employees require referrals. This means that the employee did not meet the criteria given by the HSE (https://www.hse.gov.uk/) to pass the job-specific assessments and needs further investigation from an Occupational Health Physician or an Occupational Health Advisor. The employee may have not passed one area of Health Surveillance or they may have not passed multiple. For each failed area of Health Surveillance, the process if the same.
The process after failing a Health Surveillance assessment
A General Practitioner (GP) is not able to comment on an employee’s fitness to undertake his or her job role. The employee would need to have an appointment with a specialist. The appointment will be carried out by an Occupational Health Physician (OHP) or an Occupational Health Advisor (OHA) who are specialist in Occupational Health. The employee will need to consent for the appointment to take place and for a report to be written. The Occupational Health Physician/Occupational Health Advisor would then be able to state whether the employee is fit or unfit to undertake their role, this maybe with some advice, recommendations and/or restrictions. The Occupational Health Physician or Occupational Health Advisor will also assess the employee’s safety within the working environment, and offer any advice, recommendations or adjustments that will help the employee to safely fulfil his or her job role.
There are several reasons an employee may not meet the HSE criteria to pass an assessment. These could be:
- A previous/ongoing medical condition
- Ongoing medication with potential side effects
- Reduced hearing ability
- Personal choices – such as smoking, alcohol consumption or drug use
- Reduced/restricted use of limbs
- Mental health issues
- And many more
The reasons for the referral may not be work-related, however, it may still have an impact on the employee’s ability to perform his or her job role safely. Healthscreen offer a Referrals service for these employee’s, in which an appropriate appointment will be arranged with either an Occupational Health Physician or an Occupational Health Advisor, depending on the reason for the referral. Following the appointment, both the employee and the employer will be sent a copy of the report. The Occupational Health Physician or Occupational Health Advisor may offer advice, recommendations or restrictions that should be considered by management to ensure the employee’s safety at work and the safety of their colleagues, these will all be included in the report.
Legality for buisnesses
It is a legal requirement and an HSE regulation that an employee is offered a referral when needed, even if they have an existing medical condition that is currently being or has previously been treated through their own GP / Specialist. This is because an Occupational Health Physician is completely separate from a GP / Specialist and ensures the employee is safe within the workplace. If the employee does not wish to proceed with the referral, they can decline which would release all legal obligations.