Occupational Health FAQ's

In what circumstances can I self-refer to occupational health?
How do I arrange a self-referral appointment?
What happens at a self-referral appointment?
What happens at a management referral appointment?
Do you train First Aiders?
Do you do eye tests?
I am a computer user and I think I need a new chair as my back has been sore lately, what should I do?
I'd like to stop smoking, can you help?
I travel abroad with work, can you advise on travel immunisations I may need?
I’m struggling to cope with my work due to stress or ill health, how can you help me?
If I have an employee who has had frequent short spells of sickness absence, or is on long-term sickness absence, are you able to help me manage the situation?
I have a disabled employee, can you give any advice on any special equipment I may need to provide, or any other services I may need to consider?
I’m an employee, why have I been referred to OH?
What will happen when I arrive for my appointment?
What will be said in the letter to managers?
Can I have a copy of the letter from Occupational Health to my manager?
Who will see my Occupational Health records?
Will Occupational Health write to my general practitioner/hospital specialist for information?
What if I have already returned to work or my general practitioner has given me a date to return within the next few days?
What if I do not feel able to attend an appointment with Occupational Health?
What if I cannot make this particular appointment date?
Why have I been sent a pre-employment appointment?
What are the possible outcomes of a pre-employment health screening?

In what circumstances can I self-refer to occupational health?
If you think that your work is affecting your health or your health is affecting your work, then occupational health can be a source of help and support.

How do I arrange a self-referral appointment?
An appointment can be arranged by either phoning the department on extension 7200 or via email to the occupational health and hub address at: occ-health@stir.ac.uk 

What happens at a self-referral appointment?
The issues that have led to the appointment request will be discussed and explored. Advice will be given and signposting to appropriate sources of further help/advice will be given, if this is appropriate. All information discussed is strictly confidential. Please note that we are an advisory service only and do not provide any treatment. Any treatment has to be accessed in the usual manner from your GP.

What happens at a management referral appointment?
As for self-referral appointments, the issues leading to the referral will be discussed and explored. This discussion is strictly confidential. The referral is submitted by the manager on a specific form and specific questions will be asked to aid the manager in supporting the staff member. These questions will be addressed in the form of a report. This will be discussed and agreed with the member of staff during the consultation and consent obtained. The only information that will be released from the department will be a report answering the manager's specific questions contained in the referral, using non-confidential information.

Do you train First Aiders?
First aid training arrangements are administered by Operational Risk and Environmental Sustainability (OR&ES), contact Tanya Cairns (ext 7102)

Do you do eye tests?
The University has made arrangements with Specsavers to offer a corporate eye care service for all users of display screen equipment. If you feel your eyesight should be checked in relation to your work using a computer, you can obtain an eye care voucher from Operational Risk and Environmental Sustainability (OR&ES), contact Tanya Cairns (ext 7102).

The voucher will provide for a full eye test and a basic pair of glasses (if required) from a limited range of frame styles. If you prefer a more expensive frame style, the voucher will act as part payment towards this.

The service is available to all staff at Stirling and Highland Campuses. However, staff at Western Isles have no local Specsavers available to them. These staff should attend their local optician and obtain a receipt for an eyesight test and a basic pair of glasses (if required). The receipt should be passed to OR&ES (Stirling room 4Z1) with a completed expenses claim form for reimbursement.

I am a computer user and I think I need a new chair as my back has been sore lately, what should I do?
Your Head of Department is responsible for ensuring that all computer users have completed the user induction course and their workstation assessment. The DSE User Induction course and workstation assessment should be repeated periodically (every 2-3 years) or when circumstances change e.g. an office refurbishment, new equipment etc. If you think your chair or any other aspect of your workstation is causing discomfort you should discuss the problem with your manager, who can arrange a further assessment of your workstation. If the problem is not resolved despite such measures your manager can request further advice from Occupational Health. See also http://www.she.stir.ac.uk/guidance/DisplayScreenEquipment2011.htm

I'd like to stop smoking, can you help?
We can provide information and advice on stopping smoking, including information on local smoking cessation support services.

I travel abroad with work, can you advise on travel immunisations I may need?
Yes and we can administer many of them. It is ESSENTIAL that you allow enough time to have vaccinations before you travel so make an appointment for an assessment as soon as you know where you are going.

I’m struggling to cope with my work due to stress or ill health, how can you help me?
Wherever possible you should discuss concerns about work-related problems with your manager first. If necessary you can ask your manager to refer you, or you can contact occupational health to request an appointment. We can give you confidential advice about the options available to solve or help your problem and can draw any possible work-related problems affecting your health to your manager’s attention if you wish us to do so.

If I have an employee who has had frequent short spells of sickness absence, or is on long-term sickness absence, are you able to help me manage the situation?
Yes, you can refer the employee to our department, contact the HR & OD Department for advice about how to do that. Although consultations are confidential, managers will receive a detailed report about an individual employee's ability to continue working, the likelihood of returning to work or recommendations about changes to work or shift patterns. Where applicable advice can also be given about ill health retirement. Advice from occupational health may include suggestions to enable the employer to meet any obligations arising from the Equality Act 2010 to employees with disabilities.

I have a disabled employee, can you give any advice on any special equipment I may need to provide, or any other services I may need to consider?
Yes, please contact us so that your requirements can be discussed.

I’m an employee, why have I been referred to OH?
The University of Stirling Sickness Absence Policy requires managers to refer staff experiencing prolonged or frequent sickness absence for occupational health advice. As the University has a duty of care to its employees, you may be referred for other reasons, e.g. a health problem which may limit your ability to undertake some aspects of your job or which has not lead to sickness absence but may require support or adjustments at work to enable you to do some or all of your normal duties.

Your manager should have discussed the purpose of the referral with you. Normally an occupational health appointment should lead to advice for you and your manager regarding the likely duration of sickness absence (if applicable), the effects of ill health on your work capabilities, and measures to assist your rehabilitation at work where appropriate.

What will happen when I arrive for my appointment?
The Occupational Health nurse or doctor will introduce themselves to you and explain the purpose of the assessment. If a physical examination is likely to be needed this will be explained. The nurse or doctor will then ask for your consent to proceed with the assessment.

What will be said in the letter to managers?
Whilst seeking your consent for assessment the areas that may be included in a report to managers will be discussed in detail. Usually this will include the likely duration of sickness absence (if applicable), the day-to-day effect of any permanent or short-term disability and advice on any adjustments to normal duties which may assist your return to work and subsequent rehabilitation.

Can I have a copy of the letter from Occupational Health to my manager?
A copy will be offered and provided if you request one.

Who will see my Occupational Health records?
Your occupational health records are subject to the same standards of confidentiality as records held by your general practitioner or any hospital you may have attended. Consequently neither your manager nor Human Resources staff have access to your occupational health records. Confidential medical information in your records will be released only at your request or, in exceptional circumstances, as a legal or ethical requirement.

Will Occupational Health write to my general practitioner/hospital specialist for information?
If the nurse or doctor thinks a report from your GP or a specialist would be useful the reasons for this will be discussed with you. Your GP or specialist can only provide a report to us with your informed written consent. Your right to read any such report will be explained to you at this time.

What if I have already returned to work or my general practitioner has given me a date to return within the next few days?
Contact your manager to discuss whether there is still a need for an Occupational Health appointment.

What if I do not feel able to attend an appointment with Occupational Health?
If you feel unable to undergo the assessment you should inform your manager. Without the benefit of guidance from Occupational Health your manager may have to make decisions regarding your employment based on whatever information is available to them. The doctor or nurse will discuss any concerns you may have about the appointment on the day and will not proceed further without your consent.

What if I cannot make this particular appointment date?
If you are unable to attend please inform the Occupational Health as early as possible so that the appointment may be offered to another member of staff.

Why have I been sent a pre-employment appointment?
Your prospective employer may requires new employees to undergo health screening before starting work if the post requires it. This process involves the completion of a confidential health questionnaire to be returned to the occupational health team for screening. If the occupational health nurse or doctor needs further information regarding your health, you may be asked to take part in a telephone consultation or to attend an appointment for a discussion. This process is intended to confirm whether you meet any fitness standards which are essential requirements for the job as well as to identify any adjustments or support which your employer should consider providing to help overcome the effects of a disability or medical condition so that you are able to do the job effectively.

What are the possible outcomes of a pre-employment health screening?

  • Your fitness is confirmed by the occupational health nurse/ doctor at the first appointment.
  • A GP or specialist report is required before your fitness can be confirmed.
  • You may be referred to see the occupational health doctor by the occupational health nurse.
  • In this event the occupational health doctor may be able to confirm your fitness to do the job without any special arrangements, or they may identify a medical problem or disability that could either be made worse by the job or affect your ability to undertake some aspect of the job. In this event they will advise your employer what adjustments to the job may need to be considered to enable you to perform the duties of the job. Your employer will then have to decide whether it is able to act on these recommendations.
  • In the unlikely event that an applicant is declared medically unfit for the post for which they have applied this will happen only after assessment by a specialist occupational health doctor, including full discussion with the applicant.
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