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  • FIRST POST
    • wizzards
    • By wizzards 9th Jan 19, 10:06 PM
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    wizzards
    Occupational Health assessment on return to work
    • #1
    • 9th Jan 19, 10:06 PM
    Occupational Health assessment on return to work 9th Jan 19 at 10:06 PM
    I have been very ill for six months with a Pituitary Adenoma. This has now been shrunk to almost nothing with drug treatment which is excellent. My consultant has given me a letter stating I can return to work. Since then I had a one off seizure due to too much of one of the medication. As a precaution I now have a low dose of a new medication to prevent any more seizures. I do not drive as part of my job and my consultant has given the green light to return to work. I can get to work by train and am allowed to do 3 days at home working.

    I had very bad experience with the companies occupational Health provider. In particular they way they obtained consent to my medical records. In my contract of employment there is no clause saying Occupational Health assessments are Mandatory.
    My boss arranged a new appointment and I went but I was not happy with the conditions I had to sign up to regarding access to my medical data. The forms seemed to allow the health provider to make reports which I could not stop reaching my employer if I objected to the content.
    I gave the occupational health provider a letter stating my concerns and also a copy of my consultants fit to work letter. I also suggested if they need more info they can write directly to the consultant.

    Given I have a letter from my consultant which I am going to get updated with details post seizure am I obliged to undergo an assessment. I am not looking to have special treatment or a phased restart to work as I have had a month holiday. Can they force me to undergo this assessment. I am under the care of hospital doctors and have a dedicated nurse I can call if I have any problems. The condition is not affecting my work capability as far as the consultant is concerned.

    Are there any risks if I don't do the assessment. Obviously if I have issues later on my employer may be less sympathetic.

    Initially my boss said I would have to stay on reduced pay and work only a few days a week until I completed an assessment as he thought my total sick time has exceeded 6 months. I think he was saying this to pressure me into agreeing to go. He then talked with HR and they changed their minds about that and said no loss of pay.
Page 1
    • elsien
    • By elsien 9th Jan 19, 10:14 PM
    • 18,596 Posts
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    elsien
    • #2
    • 9th Jan 19, 10:14 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Jan 19, 10:14 PM
    Your consultant may say you are fit to return to work capability wise however he does not know the specifics of your job and what it involves. That's where OH comes in, to carry out that assessment on the employer's behalf. You could be fit for one role but not another.

    For example, I had an employee who was off for months and had a colostomy. They were signed as fit by the consultant however it was a challenging behaviour unit, so we had to check out the implications of the person potentially being hit in the area of the colostomy. That would never have crossed the consultant's radar.

    Your employer is covering themselves as well as protecting you. If you decline to attend it couid have an impact on how long you have your job for.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • Xbigman
    • By Xbigman 10th Jan 19, 6:52 AM
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    Xbigman
    • #3
    • 10th Jan 19, 6:52 AM
    • #3
    • 10th Jan 19, 6:52 AM
    Put simply

    Can you refuse an OH assessment - No
    Can you demand a different OH company - No
    Can you request a different OH company - yes but your employer can refuse.
    Can you stop the OH company writing a report - No.

    The only issue you have any traction with is the open ended authorisation to access medical records. You can write to the OH company and give them permission to contact your consultant and GP about your treatment/condition regarding your Pituitary Adenoma and subsequent seizure only. If they then refuse to deal with you that is their choice.
    Whether you want to go down this route or not depends on your personal judgement about your employer. Are they completely anal and likely to kick off over this or are they reasonable. Only you can judge that.
    If your employer decides they want you out they can usually do it.



    Darren
    Xbigman's guide to a happy life.

    Eat properly
    Sleep properly
    Save some money
    • Takeaway_Addict
    • By Takeaway_Addict 10th Jan 19, 9:13 AM
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    Takeaway_Addict
    • #4
    • 10th Jan 19, 9:13 AM
    • #4
    • 10th Jan 19, 9:13 AM
    Put simply

    Can you refuse an OH assessment - No
    Can you demand a different OH company - No
    Can you request a different OH company - yes but your employer can refuse.
    Can you stop the OH company writing a report - No.

    The only issue you have any traction with is the open ended authorisation to access medical records. You can write to the OH company and give them permission to contact your consultant and GP about your treatment/condition regarding your Pituitary Adenoma and subsequent seizure only. If they then refuse to deal with you that is their choice.
    Whether you want to go down this route or not depends on your personal judgement about your employer. Are they completely anal and likely to kick off over this or are they reasonable. Only you can judge that.
    If your employer decides they want you out they can usually do it.



    Darren
    Originally posted by Xbigman
    Of course you can refuse an OH assessment, the downside to doing so is that it makes your employers job of dismissing you that bit easier.
    Don't trust a forum for advice. Get proper paid advice. Any advice given should always be checked
    • Xbigman
    • By Xbigman 10th Jan 19, 3:44 PM
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    Xbigman
    • #5
    • 10th Jan 19, 3:44 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Jan 19, 3:44 PM
    Of course you can refuse an OH assessment, the downside to doing so is that it makes your employers job of dismissing you that bit easier.

    *********

    That's complete rubbish. If an employer has any doubts about your fitness to carry out your job they can make an OH or company doctor appointment for you and you would have no reasonable grounds to refuse. You can put up some resistance but ultimately you go if you want to keep your job.
    I've seen my own colleagues go to the company doctor and refuse to be examined, refuse access to medical records and refuse to answer personal questions. But they had to go if they wanted to return to work and be paid.



    Darren
    Xbigman's guide to a happy life.

    Eat properly
    Sleep properly
    Save some money
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 10th Jan 19, 4:13 PM
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    Undervalued
    • #6
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:13 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:13 PM
    Do you really think its reasonable for my employer to expect that I should trust these people again ?
    Originally posted by wizzards
    Well you clearly don't but ultimately it doesn't matter what people on here think!

    What is relevant is where this goes next. If you are dismissed and it ends up at an employment tribunal would you win and even if you do is the likely outcome preferable to keeping your job?

    It is perfectly reasonable for an employer to want an expert medical opinion. If you are not happy with that opinion you have a right to say so and you are of course free, initially at your own expense, to seek an alternative medical opinion. If that is more favourable and you present it to your employer they may well want a third opinion!

    Unless you comply with all requests from your employer that a tribunal is likely to find reasonable you will struggle to win any unfair dismissal claim. Obviously that is not absolute, it is all a question of degree and the old lawyer's friend of what is reasonable.

    Have you had any professional advice about all this? I certainly wouldn't recommend refusing a medical appointment the employer requests without good legal advice. In the vast majority of cases all it can do is weaken your position.

    I would also resist the temptation to be overly pedantic about the finer points of the GDPR and doctor's names missing from forms.
    Last edited by Undervalued; 10-01-2019 at 4:17 PM.
    • wizzards
    • By wizzards 10th Jan 19, 4:35 PM
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    wizzards
    • #7
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:35 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:35 PM
    See also here from the GMC https://www.gmc-uk.org/ethical-guidance/learning-materials/disagreement-with-an-occupational-health-report

    I think that clarifies the basics of refusal in my mind.

    In my case I went to the appointment and provided a report from my consultant and gave written consent to approach my consultant if there were further questions. Any answer I said would have to be approved by sending a copy to me before it went to this private company. The doctor would have to do that or get a consent form anyway.

    The occ health company refused to do the assessment unless I signed the access to my medical records forms and also the forms to send the report to my employer. In their way of working I get two days to see the report before its sent to my employer and it didn't say I have the right to stop it.
    Last edited by wizzards; 10-01-2019 at 4:46 PM.
    • Takeaway_Addict
    • By Takeaway_Addict 10th Jan 19, 4:36 PM
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    Takeaway_Addict
    • #8
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:36 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:36 PM
    Of course you can refuse an OH assessment, the downside to doing so is that it makes your employers job of dismissing you that bit easier.

    *********

    That's complete rubbish. If an employer has any doubts about your fitness to carry out your job they can make an OH or company doctor appointment for you and you would have no reasonable grounds to refuse. You can put up some resistance but ultimately you go if you want to keep your job.
    I've seen my own colleagues go to the company doctor and refuse to be examined, refuse access to medical records and refuse to answer personal questions. But they had to go if they wanted to return to work and be paid.



    Darren
    Originally posted by Xbigman

    So, you've just confirmed what I said...you can refuse but there are consequences and it makes it easier to dismiss.


    But it should be noted that refusing doesn't guarantee dismissal is fair either, there will have been occasions where someone has been dismissed after refusing to see OH and had it found in their favour when it got legal
    Don't trust a forum for advice. Get proper paid advice. Any advice given should always be checked
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 10th Jan 19, 4:40 PM
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    Undervalued
    • #9
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:40 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:40 PM
    If they offered me a redundancy package on the same terms they offered others recently I would take it as I have 28 years service. I already have a few other job offerings in the pipleline. I would be stupid to walk away without a package.
    I would have thought the laws regarding the handling of personal data, especially medical data would be severe both at my employer and at my GP. I am looking at pursuing the private health company separately if possible for breaches in this respect.
    In terms of my employer I have said to them I am perfectly OK to have a health assessment but when I was there last week the assessor was not keen to even read the medical report from my consultant or letter detailing my previous experience of the other 3 health assessments that I brought with me. I had really to say please read this document 3 times before she would even look at the documents.

    Also they seemed to have no details of my previous assessments. It seems that they think this is a new case. The fact that my condition is exactly the same as it was when I saw them on 3 occasions six months ago. The only difference being it has been successfully diagnosed and treated.
    Surely the role of the OHS is provide occupational health for a known diagnosis rather than make wild assumptions of what could be wrong where the GP has failed to do anything for the patient other than give them Vitamin D tablets.
    Originally posted by wizzards
    That might get them a slap on the wrist or even quite a big fine. However it doesn't help your employment dispute in any way. In fact all it is likely to do is destroy any remaining goodwill they have towards you.

    You can always do that after you have left if you really want to!

    The role of OH is to advise the employer how your condition may affect your work and to suggest any reasonable adjustments that may help you return to work.

    It also means that any personal medical information is only shared between medical professionals and only what is absolutely necessary is passed to your employer in a form a lay person can understand.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 10th Jan 19, 4:45 PM
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    Undervalued
    If they offered me a redundancy package on the same terms they offered others recently I would take it as I have 28 years service. I already have a few other job offerings in the pipleline. I would be stupid to walk away without a package.
    .
    Originally posted by wizzards
    Nobody has a right to be made redundant. In fact your employer has a duty not to make you redundant unless you job no longer needs doing.

    That is completely separate to your medical fitness (or otherwise). If you are not medically fit to work (even with reasonable adjustments if disabled) then your employer can lawfully dismiss you just by giving you 12 weeks notice. There is no entitlement to a "package" under those circumstances.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 10th Jan 19, 4:54 PM
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    Undervalued

    The occ health company refused to do the assessment unless I signed the access to my medical records forms and also the forms to send the report to my employer. In their way of working I get two days to see the report before its sent to my employer and it didn't say I have the right to stop it.
    Originally posted by wizzards
    It is perfectly reasonable for them to want access to your medical records to compile an OH report. In fact it could be argued they were being negligent if they did it without!

    You don't have a right to stop a report being sent once you have agreed to having one produced.

    You do have a right to ask for changes and if you are unable to agree have a statement of your views added to the report.
    • wizzards
    • By wizzards 10th Jan 19, 4:58 PM
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    wizzards
    I think the best thing I can do is make my employer explain the process. Give my employers health company only my consultants details.
    My consultant has said they will 100 % support any employment questions or problems. Pituitary conditions are I believe classed under the Disability act hence my employer maybe has to make allowances which will be in my favour ?
    Make sure I take a tape recorder and a notepad and write down each question and answer so when the report comes I can check it ?
    How long do I have to say I want a statement or changes to the report. The company gives only 2 days for the report to the employer and 21 days for the report coming from the GP to them.
    Last edited by wizzards; 10-01-2019 at 5:03 PM.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 10th Jan 19, 5:04 PM
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    Undervalued
    I think the best thing I can do is make my employer explain the process. Give my employers health company only my consultants details.
    My consultant has said they will 100 % support any employment questions or problems. Pituitary conditions are I believe classed under the Disability act hence my employer maybe has to make allowances which will be in my favour ?
    Make sure I take a tape recorder and a notepad and write down each question and answer so when the report comes I can check it ?
    Originally posted by wizzards
    Possibly but please get some professional legal advice and not do anything that may jeopardise your employment.

    Yes, if it is a disability then you employer must make reasonable adjustments. However what is reasonable can depend on all kinds of factors and it often doesn't go anything like as far as people fondly believe. In fact I would say that the vast majority of "good" employers do far more than the law would actually require. However, just because they do it doesn't mean every employer will.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 10th Jan 19, 5:06 PM
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    Undervalued
    The company gives only 2 days for the report to the employer and 21 days for the report coming from the GP to them.
    Originally posted by wizzards
    I am not aware of a fixed time limit so it is our old friend of what is reasonable.

    Again though, I really wouldn't argue these sort of points unless it is essential.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 10th Jan 19, 8:25 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    If they offered me a redundancy package on the same terms they offered others recently I would take it as I have 28 years service. I already have a few other job offerings in the pipleline. I would be stupid to walk away without a package.
    Originally posted by wizzards
    Not necessarily. If you have another job offer which you'd be willing to accept, IMO it would be stupid to hold out for a package of any kind, which may not be forthcoming.
    Still knitting!
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    • wizzards
    • By wizzards 10th Jan 19, 9:14 PM
    • 85 Posts
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    wizzards
    Well I am pretty sure that the current boss is a hatchet man to reduce cost. I will get about 75-80K based on the current union negotiated deal. Part of that tax free. Just about allows me to retire at approx 55 and get a nice relaxing job in wildlife/conservation or something less stressful. Swapping jobs when your expecting a next round of cuts with a payout would be silly I think. I don't love my current job but on the other hand its flexible working from home at 37.5 hours with OT after that. Holiday trading allowing you to transfer or buy an extra week. Because i started in the 90's I don't have the performance related pay and retained a long service bonus so I think I better play along. Moan a bit but not too much. Thus ensuring I get selected at the next round. I can't say that will happen as I am / or was very good at my job.
    • wizzards
    • By wizzards 11th Jan 19, 8:14 AM
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    wizzards
    Is it illegal for me to tape the interview with the OHS people without telling them. I was just thinking rather than write everything down long hand I could just tape it and then when the reports come through I can cross check what we said and the report. I can just pop a mini tape recorder in my pocket. The mic can sit on my jacket button hole. If they ask I just say its for my mobile. I have an external mobile phone mic / ear piece that will plug into the mini tape recorder I use for notes to myself at work.
    • nicechap
    • By nicechap 11th Jan 19, 8:55 AM
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    nicechap
    Why not be polite and ask the OH person if you can record them?
    Originally Posted by shortcrust
    "Contact the Ministry of Fairness....If sufficient evidence of unfairness is discovered you’ll get an apology, a permanent contract with backdated benefits, a ‘Let’s Make it Fair!’ tshirt and mug, and those guilty of unfairness will be sent on a Fairness Awareness course."
    • wizzards
    • By wizzards 11th Jan 19, 9:24 AM
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    wizzards
    If they so no where do I go from there. There gonna ask why. And that's gonna put their back up. I went last week and gave them my consultants report and they just didn't even want to read that. They just shoved it away and pushed a load of forms towards me without explaining what they were for and tried to get me to sign them. The notes said your boss has explained to you why your here and a load of other stuff. After much pushing the lady read the letter I prepared explaining what had happened before along with my consultants letter and said do you want me to do the assessment or not. I said its OK to do the assessment but as these things are supposed to have been explained to me and they haven't I can't really be expected to sign the forms until they are. They were difficult to understand about which reports I could comment on and what rights I had if I didn't like the content etc.
    She kind of huffed looked quite unsettled then she and we left. She seemed to think this was a brand new case and was unaware I had been 3 times 6 months earlier before my diagnosis for the same issue.

    I asked my boss and he told me
    The process is there to protect you in case of an unscrupulous employer who demands that you come back full time whilst not 100 %.

    I told him in reply I cannot agree that this is true in terms of the employee part in my case given my experiences to date.
    I mean the last lot told me I need to exercise when I had no diagnosis of my tumor. That could have killed me if I was stupid enough to think it was a good idea. The silly woman went on about getting fresh air and exercise would probably do me some good etc. She wrote all that in report as well and sent it to my boss.


    My boss seemed to imply that he will explain next week and setup a new appointment.

    I have seen a nice pen that works and can do 16GB recording of voice and video. i.e hours. A bargin for £49 quid.
    • k3lvc
    • By k3lvc 11th Jan 19, 9:35 AM
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    k3lvc
    Well I am pretty sure that the current boss is a hatchet man to reduce cost. I will get about 75-80K based on the current union negotiated deal. Part of that tax free. Just about allows me to retire at approx 55 and get a nice relaxing job in wildlife/conservation or something less stressful. Swapping jobs when your expecting a next round of cuts with a payout would be silly I think. I don't love my current job but on the other hand its flexible working from home at 37.5 hours with OT after that. Holiday trading allowing you to transfer or buy an extra week. Because i started in the 90's I don't have the performance related pay and retained a long service bonus so I think I better play along. Moan a bit but not too much. Thus ensuring I get selected at the next round. I can't say that will happen as I am / or was very good at my job.
    Originally posted by wizzards
    OP - you're playing a dangerous game with that length of service. I speak as someone in a similar situation re service/OH but without the issues you apparently have re health provider. I've also watched colleagues in the same boat and seen their outcomes

    At that length of service you obviously have some significant relationship with your employer, a short term cost to them (salary) and a longer term liability (redundancy/replacement). Whilst there continue to be those that make a killing by getting redundancy in late 40's/early 50's these are becoming fewer and with significant risks - especially if you're looking to change your behaviours to achieve this.

    Given the significant medical issues you've had (and I've had similar time off but for a different medical reason) my advice would be to work with your employer rather than trying to battle against them. If the heath provider are causing issues then you need someone internal (OH) to recognise and manage this - if you go into battle yourself it both drains you mentally and has the potential to leave a bad impression with your employer.

    One of the risks to this is that your employer - with no significant risk to themselves - can easily understand your endgame and mitigate against that. Your role may change, your flexibility withdrawn and objectives increased to such an extent that either you choose to leave or you end up with a compromise agreement giving significantly less than any potential redundancy payment.

    Given all the positives you raise about the lifestyle this particular role/employer gives is it not better to approach in a less confrontational way ?
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