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5. Occupational Health Referral

5.1. Where medical advice is sought, such as where there has been long-term absence or repeated short absences, a referral to Occupational Health for an assessment and advice about any ill-health concerns may be necessary. This will provide specific advice regarding the management of health conditions in relation to work and any support and/or reasonable adjustments that should be considered. The benefits of and reasons for an Occupational Health referral should be discussed with the employee by the manager prior to completing the management referral form. Occupational Health will advise on fitness to work and the impact of any health problem on the employee's ability to perform their job, including any reasonable adjustments or work modifications that should be considered.

5.2. Details of the health problem and the discussion between the Occupational Health Adviser and the employee will not be disclosed to the referring manager without the specific consent of the employee. However, employees are encouraged to share relevant information about their health with referring managers to enable them to consider appropriate support.

5.3. Where an employee does not consent to an Occupational Health referral it may be necessary for the University to make decisions based on the information it has available. For further information please visit the Occupational Health webpages.

5.4. An Occupational Health referral will usually be appropriate where:

  • There is an indication that there are factors in the workplace contributing to the sickness absence;
  • Several absences are noted for the same cause on the attendance record;
  • There is a continued concern regarding short-term sickness absence despite informal discussions;
  • The employee requests a referral;
  • The employee has a fit note stating that they are unfit for work but does not wish to wait until the expiry of the fit note before returning to work;
  • There is a case of long-term sickness absence, including the management of return to work; and/or
  • There are concerns that an employee's health may lead to sickness absence (i.e. preventative advice).

5.5. If managers require support on the referral process, they should contact Occupational Health or the relevant HR Business Manager or their team.

5.6. Following an Occupational Health assessment, the employee will have an opportunity to view the report before it is issued to the referring manager and comment on any factual inaccuracies. Once the employee has given their consent for the report to be released, Occupational Health will send a copy to the referring manager.

5.7. Where a report has been obtained from Occupational Health, a meeting should be held with the employee to discuss the content of the report and any recommendations. This meeting may be held under the informal or formal stages of the Sickness Absence Review Process.

5.7.1. Further advice on Occupational Health is provided in the Sickness Absence Guidance document.