Occupational Health focuses on managing the relationship between an employee’s health and their work; any adverse event in one will have a negative impact on the other. As such it can be beneficial to both employees and management to seek advice on how best to manage this relationship in the workplace.
Common reasons for referral include:
Referrals can be made by completing the Management Referral Form and sending this to firstname.lastname@example.org. The referral form can be sent by either the manager or a HR representative. See the 'Management Referrals: Guidance for Managers' document for more details and guidance on how to complete a management referral.
In all cases the reasons for the referral must be discussed and agreed with the employee prior to the referral being sent to OHS.
Alternatively employees can self-refer for advice and guidance. See the self-referral page for more information.
Upon receipt of a referral form, OHS will assess the referral and assign it to a case manager. Notification of the earliest available appointment will be sent to the employee and manager within 5 days.
OHS will prepare a report following the appointment to be sent to the named management contacts. OHS reports are designed to offer an objective and professional opinion regarding fitness for work. These reports also provide advice on what might make it easier for the employee to carry out their duties successfully whilst taking into account any health issues and/or disabilities.
You should receive the OHS report within 10 working days of the appointment. This allows time for the Occupational Health Advisers (OHA) or Occupational Health Physicians) to write the report, send it to the employee, and for the employee to review and release consent for the report to be sent to you. OHS will inform you if there is a delay and the reasons for this. If consent is not gained, OHS will not be able to send the report to you however we will notify you of this.
Information in the OHS report is advisory only. It is for management to decide whether they can support or accommodate any suggested adjustments or adaptations.
In every management referral there should be a clear reason for the referral.
If the referral is regarding absence it should include details of sickness absence and whether this is long term or frequent short term absences. It is helpful to include an indication of the frequency, the reasons the employee attributes to their sickness absence, and copies of self-certificates and GP Fitness Certificates.
The manager should also specify any concerns about performance or work capability and/or conduct that could be underpinned by a health related issue.
It should be clear that the employee has been informed about the reasons for the referral and that they agree to the referral process.
If the Management Referral Form shows any indication that the manager has not understood the remit of Occupational Health and/or the reason for referral, an OHA will contact you to discuss the referral form and offer guidance. This may result in the need for submission of a revised referral form once the consent has been re-sought by the referring manager form the employee to be referred.
Upon receipt of the referral form, an OHA will triage the reason for referral and assign an OHA or OHP to the case. Occupational Health Services will send an appointment letter via email to the employee using the email address provided on the referral form. You will also receive a copy of this letter. The appointment letter should be generated within 5 working days of the referral being received by Occupational Health Services.
If the employee is unable to attend the appointment offered, they must contact Occupational Health Services no later than 48 hours before their appointment is due in order to reschedule. We do appreciate that from time to time, unforeseen circumstance will arise where upon the employee will be unable to give 48 hours’ notice to reschedule.
You will receive notification of any rescheduled appointments.
In the event that the employee does not attend their appointment, Occupational Health Services will advise you of this via email and will take your advice on if a further appointment for the employee should be booked.
Occupational Health Service reports are designed to offer an objective and expert opinion regarding to how the health of the individual affects them in their workplace or how the workplace is affecting their health. These reports also provide advice on what might make it easier for the employee to carry out their duties successfully whilst taking into account their health problem or disability.
Information in the Occupation Health Services report is advisory only. It is at the discretion of the referring manager to decide whether they can support or accommodate any suggested adjustments or adaptations.
Where rehabilitation programs are suggested, it is for the manager to decide if they are reasonable and manageable from an operational perspective. If there is any doubt about this, or managers require further advice, they should contact the Occupational Health Practitioner who will be happy to discuss this further.
In the interests of both the referrer and employee, the OHA or OHP must adopt a neutral, professional position. The reports should reflect this stance.
The report should address the questions asked and offer the Occupational Health Practitioner’s medical opinion where necessary. The report may also advise upon other factors or questions outside of those indicated to be answered in the referral if the Occupational Health practitioner believes it would be detrimental to the employee and or employer if these were not addressed for legal and/or safety reasons.
The report should also capture if the OHA or OHP believes there is an appropriate reason to review the employee again or if the case will be closed after the initial consultation
Other important factors to consider when interpreting the OH report:
You should receive the Occupational Health Services report within 10 working days of the appointment. This accommodates the OHA or OHP in writing the report, sending it to the employee, and for the employee to review and release consent for the report to be sent to you.
In cases where there is a delay in the report being sent and/or you the employee has not given consent for the report being released, Occupational Health Services will inform the referring manager(s) via email (copying the employee in) that consent to release the report has not been given. In these circumstances you may need to make decisions regarding the employee case without the benefit of Occupational Health Services advice or opinion.
Employees, with their consent, may be referred by their manager(s) to the University of Oxford Occupational Health Service for an opinion on the effect of work on health or health on work.
The referral may be in relation to:
A Management Referral Form must be completed by your manager, supervisor, or HR Business Partner which will provide Occupational Health Services with some information about your job, recent sickness absence (if relevant), and the concerns your manager has about you.
The referral will ask specific questions regarding your health and wellbeing. The answers to these questions will help your manager to make appropriate decisions to support you at work.
Ideally, the form will be completed by your referring manager with you present, so that you fully understand the reason(s) for the referral, can review any additional documentation that may need to be attached to the referral, and have the opportunity to discuss the referral with the referring manager.
In circumstances where upon you are not able to be present when your referring manager completes the referral, the completed referral form and supporting documentation (where applicable) should be sent to you for review.
If you agree with the referral content, your referring manager will then send the competed referral form and any supporting documentation to Occupational Health Services via email.
Upon receipt of the referral form, an OHA will triage the reason(s) for referral and assign an OHA or OHP to the case.
Occupational Health Services will then send you an appointment letter via email to the email address provided on the referral form. You should normally receive the appointment letter within 5 working days of the referral being received.
If you are unable to attend the appointment offered, you must contact Occupational Health Services no later than 48 hours before your appointment is due in order to reschedule. We do appreciate that from time to time unforeseen circumstance will arise where upon you will be unable to give 48 hours’ notice to reschedule.
Your referring manager will be advised of any rescheduled appointments.
In the event that you do not attend your appointment, your referring manager will be notified and will advise Occupational Health Services if a further appointment is required.
At your appointment the OHA or OHP will go through the referral form with you to ensure you understand the reasons for the referral and consent to the consultation taking place. These consultations usually take 45-60 minutes.
The OHA or OHP will need to gather sufficient medical information from you to enable them to write an accurate, objective and useful opinion in regards to the reason for the referral and the questions that have been indicated to be answered on your referral form. This assessment will also give you an opportunity to talk, in confidence, about any concerns you might have regarding your health at work, with an experienced Occupational Health professional.
At the end of your consultation the OHA or OHP will summarise the information gathered and give you a verbal outline of the report they will generate to your referring manager(s).
Occupational Health Services reports are designed to offer an objective and professional opinion regarding fitness for work. These reports also provide advice on what might make it easier for you to carry out your duties successfully whilst taking into account your health issue and/or disability.
Information in the Occupation Health Services report is advisory only. It is for your manager to decide whether they can support or accommodate any suggested adjustments or adaptations.
The OHA or OHP will write the report and send this to you (password protected) via email for your consideration within 5 working days of the consultation. You will be given a further 5 working days in order to approve the report and provide your consent to it being sent.
If you have concerns in regards to the report you should contact the OHA or OHP to discuss this. If the OHA or OHP’s opinion is based on incorrect facts then you should highlight this - the OHA or OHP is normally happy to reconsider their opinion in these circumstances. However, if the facts are correct they will inevitably not be able to change their professional opinion but should take the time to explain this to you. If agreement cannot be reached and we do not obtain your consent to send the report
In cases where there is a delay in the report being sent and/or you do not agree to the report being released, Occupational Health Services will inform your referring manager(s) via email (copying you in) that consent to release the report has not been given. In these circumstances your manager will need to make decisions regarding your case without the benefit of Occupational Health Services advice or opinion.
Occupational Health Advisers and Occupational Health Physicians are registered practitioners and therefore work within the legal framework of the GDPR 2018, and adhere to the standards set down in the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (OHA’s), General Medical Council’s (OHP’s), and other relevant bodies’ Codes of Conduct.
OHA’s and OHP’s will not share any information about you with a third party without your informed consent.
Occupational Health Services
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Protection of health at work
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