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FAQs About GP or Consultant Reports for Occupational Health and/or Ill Health

Why do Occupational Health (OH) want to contact my GP or Consultant?

Occupational health clinicians (nurses or physicians) may feel it is appropriate to contact your GP or Consultant to better understand your current physical and/or mental health and any previous or ongoing treatment which you may be currently receiving and for a better understanding of the likely duration of any recovery if known. This may include a history of relevant symptoms or conditions which may impact upon your ability to return to or remain in work.


What do I need to do next?

Our Admin Team at Insight Workplace Health (IWH) will guide you through each step of the process of obtaining a report from your GP or Consultant and processing the information received. Once your employers have agreed to us requesting a report you will be sent an Access to Medical Records Consent Form which you should read carefully and complete as soon as possible and return to IWH.


Do I have to consent to OH requesting this additional information from my GP or Consultant?

The decision as to provided consent for OH to obtain a report from your GP or Consultant needs to be made by independently by you, however without the additional information which may be obtained from your GP or Consultant it may be more difficult for the OH clinician to provide appropriate advice to you and your employer about the potential impact of your health upon your work and vice versa, and as such your employer may not then be able to make an informed decision about how to manage your current health condition in work.


Will my employer see the full report from my GP or Consultant?

No, not unless you decide to share it with them directly, this is normally discouraged by OH clinicians. Any medical report obtained from your GP or Consultant by IWH will be reviewed by the OH clinician aware of your case subsequently a brief OH appointment will be arranged to discuss its contents prior to the necessary information being shared with your employer as required. As with any other OH report we will NOT share this report with your employer without your consent.


How long will it take to obtain a copy of my GP or Consultant report?

At present, due to ongoing pressures upon the NHS it may take up to 10 weeks (70 days) for OH to obtain a report from your GP or Consultant from the time at which we make the request from your GP or Consultant. This does not usually stop the OH clinician providing advice to you and/or your employer in the interim.


If you are asked by your employer to make a Subject Access Request (SAR) to obtain a copy of your medical records (which is governed by specific timescales which must be adhered to by your GP and therefore often quicker) this should be declined. This will not generate a specific report or opinion about your overall health relating to the issues which are currently affecting you and may result in your employer having access to information which it is not appropriate for them to be aware of. Requesting that you access information about your physical or mental health in this manner may constitute a breach of GDPR.


Why have my employers decided that I may qualify for Ill Health Retirement (IHR)?

If you are unable to undertake your contractual role in work despite adjustments recommended by OH they may decide to explore whether to retire you on health grounds. This may have beneficial financial implications, enabling you to claim some benefits which you would otherwise not be entitled to.

Typically, IHR may be appropriate if:


  • You have a physical or mental condition that means you can’t continue to do your job (or earn enough money to live off if you’re self-employed).

  • Your condition is permanent, so you won’t be able to return to work in the future.

  • There’s no medication or treatment that could improve your condition and enable you to do your job.

  • You’re unable to work on a part-time or flexible basis as an alternative to ill health retirement.


I have been advised that further information is needed by the OH physician prior to them making a judgment on my ill health retirement (IHR), how long will this take?

See above. The process of obtaining a report from your GP or Consultant in relation to your IHR is often lengthy. You should ensure that you have been fully briefed by your employer about the implications of entering the IHR process when this is commenced. Further information about IHR can be found at https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/pensions-and-retirement/taking-your-pension/early-retirement-because-of-illness-sickness-or-disability

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