Occupational Health Service
Occupational Health (OH) is part of our Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service. It provides professional, proactive help and advice on health issues.
OH focuses on health matters, but also promotes a balanced approach to safety and wellbeing. The aims of our service are to:
- help employees to achieve and maintain good physical and psychological health
- advise managers on health and wellbeing issues to help them support individuals within their teams
- help the Council to meet its legal duties to protect employee health and wellbeing
- develop and support best practice in managing and improving the health of individuals and the organisation as a whole
- provide advice and information to all employees.
Occupational health referrals
To manage employees who are on long-term sickness effectively, we must take all reasonable steps to make sure the decisions we make take into account the latest medical information.
This is mostly carried out through regular contact with the employee. However, you should also also arrange for them to be referred to Occupational Health. This is essential before arranging a hearing so you can make sure the latest medical advice is contained in your statement of case.
Complete the Request for Occupational Health Report and Assessment and refer to the OHR flowchart. The report will only respond to questions you have asked, for example, if you want to know whether ill health retirement is appropriate or whether a return to work is imminent, make sure you put this on the form.
If you are managing intermittent sickness absence for the same employee, ask if they are medically capable of attending work regularly to carry out their job. If not, ask:
- whether they would be if there were reasonable adjustments put in place
- what the employee would be capable of.
This is to ensure that, if a decision is taken to dismiss for medical capability, the employee is eligible for redeployment support.
Before submitting the form, talk to the employee to explain the reasons for the referral. Make sure they understand that the referral isn't punitive or any indication that you think their illness may not be genuine.
When you receive the report it may be appropriate to:
- follow up with the employee if a return to work is imminent and they may benefit from a phased return or need reasonable adjustments
- arrange a hearing if the employee is eligible for ill health retirement or a return is not imminent
- hold a review meeting.
If the team member has been absent due to stress:
- arrange to meet up and complete an individual stress risk assessment with them
- make sure the employee's work life balance sheet is up to date
- check their latest Great Performance Conversation records - you may need to arrange to meet up separately with the employee to hold an objective setting or review meeting.