Occupational Health Management Referrals

Management Referrals are the processes employers follow to refer employees to occupational health professionals when they need expert assessment and guidance on health-related issues. These referrals are crucial in promoting employee health and well-being and managing work-related health risks.

What to expect from your Occupational Health Management Referral?

Our Occupational Health Management Referrals are designed to create long-term positive changes. And, we do this in a couple of ways. Our referrals take a holistic approach, with a focus on mental and physical health. So, your employees have all the tools they need to improve their wellbeing and productivity.

A tailored programme, made for your business

Whether you’re a remote team or working together, we approach each business as an individual. We offer face to face, web portal and even video support OH Assessments. Providing you with all the information and tools to make the best decision for your business. Even in the most sensitive of cases, we can create solutions that really improve both employee morale and reduce absenteeism.

Management of Sickness Absence

When investing in your business, it’s always worth examining the return that you’ll make. And while our in-house team will be able to give you a clear estimate and examples of ROI. However, a study by Deloitte and Mind found that a return of £5 for every £1 spent, in the area of mental health. Many of our clients find that they can expect a significant long-term saving by investing in occupational health.

What can I expect in terms of ROI?

Management of sickness and absence levels can be tough on smaller businesses and colleagues. But, we have years of experience supporting staff back to work. In fact, a recent study found that early intervention in a return to work program reduced lost workday cases by 55%. We identify the obstacles for employees and create a detailed return-to-work plan that can bring long-term sick employees, back to the office.

Reasons for Health Management Referrals 

An employer can have different reasons for referring employees to occupational health services. The reasons can include health concerns affecting job performance, sickness absence, work-related injuries or illnesses, disability and fitness assessment for work.

Before proceeding with the referral, the employer or the manager must discuss the reasons for the referral with the employee.

The employee should fully understand the reason why they are being referred, the information on the management referral form, and the feedback being sought.

The manager should indicate that they have discussed the referral with the individual and that providing a copy of the referral to the employee is good practice.

Management Referral  Assessment

The occupational health professional will comprehensively assess the referred employee’s health, including their job roles and work environment.

The initial assessment collects sufficient information to provide an accurate, objective, and valuable opinion regarding the employee’s fitness to perform the job. During this assessment, the individual may be asked about:

  • The health problem or disability, any concerns they have, and treatment they may receive.
  • The work they undertake and any difficulties arising from health or other reasons
  • Any activities out of work that they are involved in

From the assessment, the occupational health professional can determine whether it is necessary to request further information from the individual’s general practitioner or hospital specialist and if further assessment is necessary.

The purpose of the assessment is so that the occupational health professional can advise the employee and employer and make recommendations where necessary. During this process, medical details are not usually disclosed unless necessary and are with the individual’s knowledge and consent for disclosure. From the assessment, the OH professional can provide information and recommendations such as:

  • Whether the employee has an underlying health condition or disability that may affect attendance or performance at work
  • The extent of the effects of the condition on future attendance and performance
  • Measures to support the individual during their absence
  • Whether time off may be required for appointments and treatments
  • When the employee is likely to return to work
  • Recommendations on how to assist over a return to work
  • Advice regarding any workplace restrictions and adaptations

Return-to-Work Planning

Return-to-work planning is for employees returning to work after a period of sickness or injury absence. The return-to-work plans are part of the occupational health management referrals and outline the appropriate adjustments or accommodations needed to support the employee’s return to work safely and effectively.

The plan varies and is customised to the needs of the employee and the nature of their condition and may include some or all of the following factors:

  • Advice that may include designing a programme of work tasks for the employee to strengthen and increase their stamina and help them get back into their work routine
  • A negotiated return-to-work schedule of work hours with recommendations on how to gradually increase the working hours over several weeks
  • The occupational health professional can attend meetings to ensure a smooth return-to-work process and, if necessary, aid communication between the parties.

Work Adjustments and Accommodations

Occupational health professionals recommend reasonable workplace adjustments or accommodations to facilitate employees’ continued employment, especially those with disabilities or health conditions.

These recommendations may include modifying work hours, tasks and physical work environment.

Reasonable adjustments are crucial in reducing the effect of an employee’s disability or impairment so they can do their job to the best of their abilities. Reasonable adjustments may be considered for both physical and mental health conditions. Some examples of reasonable adjustments include:

  • Providing equipment such as an adapted keyboard for someone with arthritis to reduce discomfort
  • Phased return to work after a period of absence to develop stamina, rebuild confidence and check any additional adjustments.
  • Reallocating job tasks and working practices for people with mobility issues
  • Allowing flexible working hours to enable additional breaks to overcome fatigue
  • Providing a quiet space for an individual who has difficulty with frequent interruptions and distractions in an open-plan or busy office.
  • Changing methods of communication and information sharing

Health Promotion and Prevention

Occupational health management referrals may also include proactive measures to promote employee health and prevent work-related health problems. These can involve education and advice on stress management techniques, healthy lifestyle choices, and workplace health promotion initiatives.

Advisory Role

Occupational health professionals can also act in an advisory capacity. They can guide employers and managers on how to promote and manage health-related issues within the workplace. This advisory role can extend to health and safety regulations, legal obligations, and best practices that promote the well-being of employees.

Confidentiality and Consent

Occupational health management referrals must adhere to strict confidentiality standards when handling sensitive health and medical information. They have to comply with data protection regulations and medical confidentiality. Employees must consent before any health information is shared with the employer. Also, the employee must consent to occupational health professionals accessing their medical information should this be required.

Collaboration with Other Healthcare Providers

Occupational health professionals, when appropriate, will collaborate with other healthcare providers such as general practitioners, physiotherapists, and specialists to ensure coordinated care for employees and facilitate timely and effective intervention.

Occupational Health Management referrals are critical in supporting employee health. They also enhance workplace well-being and enable employers to manage occupational health risks effectively. Through expert assessment, advice and support, occupational health services can contribute to a healthier, safer and more productive working environment.

Want to understand how much you could save? Contact our friendly team today.
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