OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
With effect from 02 August 2010 CIGNA HealthCare will be the University’s new provider of
occupational health services for all staff of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).
Occupational Health is a specialist area of medicine specifically to support the relationship
between people’s health and their work. Feeling healthy at work is important to all of us. The
CIGNA Occupational Health Service (OHS) will provide health management advice to help you
stay healthy whilst at work, but also offers you the help you need to make a full recovery if you
have been absent from work for a period through illness. The OHS will also provide assistance to
support you once you have returned to work, if appropriate.
If you are absent from work through illness or if there is a cause for concern about your health,
you may be referred to the Occupational Health Adviser (OHA) via a management referral from
your line manager, with advice and guidance provided by the HR department. The University’s
OHA is a qualified nurse with additional specialist qualifications such as occupational health with
perhaps coronary care, mental health, vocational rehabilitation, travel medicine etc.
The OHA also has extensive experience of providing healthcare in the work environment and
supporting rehabilitation plans. The CIGNA OHA and Occupational Health Physician (OHP) will
work on campus at GCU in the ARC building (to the left of the Reception area).
THE REFERRAL PROCESS
Once your line manager has submitted the OH referral, the OH Adviser will contact you to
arrange an initial appointment to assess your health status and whether it might be
affecting your ability to work. The OH appointment normally lasts approximately 45 minutes. The OHA will ask you to describe your health condition(s), how it is/they are affecting you andwhat treatment you are receiving for it/them. You may also be asked about your role within the University and whether or not you are experiencing any difficulties at work as a result of your health, and you may also be asked about any relevant aspects of your life outside work as well.
This is an opportunity to discuss, in confidence, with an experienced health professional any concerns you might have about your health in relation to your work. The OHA will provide you with appropriate advice and will propose a plan for the University to support your recovery and return to work if applicable. Following the meeting OHA will produce a written report for your line manager with an expert opinion of your fitness for work, as well as suggesting any suitable
recommendations which may be implemented to help make it easier for you to carry out your duties successfully.
There may be occasions when the OHA may need more detailed clinical information from your General Practitioner and/or any specialist consultants you may have seen. In these circumstances, they will seek your permission to release any personal or medical information and will ask you to sign a consent form accordingly. Under the Access to Medical Reports Act you have the right to see the report your GP or specialist has written before it is provided to CIGNA. In addition, the OHA will routinely discuss with you the contents of any subsequent fitness for work advice they may provide before sending it to your line manager. There may also be other circumstances where it might be helpful to obtain an opinion from the CIGNA OHP who will hold a clinic at GCU once a month. Again the OHA would seek your consent to do this before
FOLLOW-UP AND REVIEW
If any further assessment is needed, your OHA will contact/arrange to see you at the appropriate time to review your progress and will keep your line manager updated at all times.
ADVICE ON FITNESS FOR WORK
Following your consultation, the OHA will provide your line manager with a written fitness for work report. This will always be discussed with you at the time of your appointment. Under the Data Protection Act, you are entitled to request a copy of this advice at any time and new General Medical Council guidance allows you to see it before it is sent out if you wish. The fitness for work advice may include:
- an opinion on whether you have a health problem which may affect your attendance or
performance at work and, if so, how it may affect your attendance or performance in the
- an estimation of the time off you may need to attend doctors appointments or for
- how long it is likely to be before you are ready to return to work for full duties
- recommendations on a phased return to work, or temporarily adjusted duties together
with the suggested support you may need in the workplace
- advice about risk assessments and legal compliance
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Your line manager (with support from HR, as necessary) will arrange to speak with you to discuss the advice provided in the report. It is important to note that OHA recommendations are advisory only - your line manager will do what is reasonably and operationally practicable.
Your OHA can provide feedback on adjustments to your work or working environment if you have a temporary or permanent disability through a detailed risk assessment. They may also seek advice from specialist organisations and/or recommend involving the Access to Work Scheme through Job Centre Plus. GCU will decide if those recommendations are reasonable and can be accommodated. Whatever is decided the OHS will ensure that you are supported and
adjustments are reviewed regularly and revised where necessary.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH PHYSICIAN (OHP) APPOINTMENTS
From time to time, the OHA may recommend that it would be helpful for you to see the CIGNA OHP. This might be appropriate if you have a work-related health condition, need a very specific risk assessment or perhaps pre or post travel. The OHA will arrange these for you. The OHP report will be based on your fitness for work as above and the same rules apply to accessing these reports as detailed previously.
SELF REFERRALS TO OH SERVICE
Occasionally you may wish to seek advice from the onsite OHA and you can contact the OHA directly to arrange an appointment. These appointments will continue to be handled in the strictest of confidence with no report going back to your line manager or HR without your explicit consent. Self-referrals are generally undertaken only in cases where there are no significant implications for work.
REFERRALS TO THE EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME (EAP)
The University OH support also includes access to the EAP, including a 24 hour free helpline and counselling service. Where appropriate you may be referred to the EAP provider via the OHS. Specifics of the EAP provider and the services offered to GCU employees will be available separately.
PRE-PLACEMENT SCREENING AND ONGOING HEALTH SURVEILLANCE
A pre-placement screening form will be provided prior to commencing new employment with GCU and should be returned to the OHA at GCU using the envelope provided. A paper based assessment will be carried out to assess your fitness for the role. There may be occasions where the OHA may need to contact you for clarification on information you have provided, initially by telephone but a letter may be sent if contact is proving difficult.
Some roles within the University require baseline health surveillance tests for specific health and safety purposes or as the result of a risk assessment carried out on the role, in these cases an appointment will be arranged for you to attend the OHS. Once you have attended, the OHA will arrange for a rolling programme of on-going surveillance to be carried out, you will be called back at intervals in line with Health & Safety Executive, Statutory and GCU guidance. Occasionally you may have to attend an appointment with the OHP and if so this will be discussed with you and arranged.
RIDDOR Regulations 1995: Reporting accidents and ill health at work is a legal requirement. The information enables the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities, to identify where and how risks arise, and to investigate serious accidents. Although the CIGNA OHS does not envisage many such occurrences, they will work closely with GCU’s Health and Safety Department to support prevention and reporting as required.
From time to time you may be referred to the OHS for a specific risk assessment if there are medical issues to be taken into account. We will work closely with the Health and Safety Department, maintaining medical confidentiality at all times. You will have the right to view any of our reports and recommendations prior to them being released to GCU should you wish.
Some employees may be required to travel overseas on University business or may accept overseas assignments or secondments. The OHS will provide a travel clinic for you to attend for pre-travel risk assessment and advice, immunisations, travel packs for those going to remote areas and post travel health assessments.
The main statutory legislation in relation to confidentiality of sensitive medical information is the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998. Trust is essential to the relationship between any health professional and their client so all doctors and nurses work to strict codes of professional conduct. This includes the GCU Occupational Health team. All the
medical information provided by you to CIGNA personnel remains confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone else without your prior agreement (except in exceptional circumstances where not doing so represents a significant and serious risk of harm to you or others). In addition, information given in confidence to CIGNA will only be used for the purposes for which it was given.
GCU Occupational Health : 0141 331 8820.
The OHA will be available from 8.30am until 4.30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday with the exceptions of public holidays and University shut down periods.
For staff who have been referred to Occupational Health by their Line Manager, we have drafted a short guidance paper to help you understand the process -
Related Policy –