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When an employee is off work due to a medical condition the employer naturally wants to know more to try and understand what can be done to bring the employee back to work. Historically, employers have thought that the only way to do this is to contact the GP and request a medical report. But is this the best option?

HR often advise Managers that a GP report is needed, but this route in our opinion is now out of date and will not provide employers with all the information needed to bring the employee back to work and manage their medical condition in the workplace. In fact, GPs are now advising in reports that an OH opinion is needed as they cannot provide an opinion on fit for work issues.

Yes, a GP report will give you some information regarding the medical condition and any ongoing or planned treatment. However, the information you receive will be similar to what your employee has already told you. The report may advise light duties or a phased return and this is often because the employee requests the GP to add this, not always because it is needed. The report will cost you anywhere between £75 and £150 and you will probably have to wait for a couple of months before it arrives.

In contrast, if you seek an Occupational Health Nurse consultation and report, you will receive the following information within 48 hours for a similar cost.

    • Proactive rehabilitation/phased return to work advice.
    • Implications of the Equality Act. (May be likely/not likely to apply)
    • Ergonomic factors.
    • Functional limitations.
    • Likelihood of future absences.
    • Prognosis of condition.
    • Assessment of fitness to attend a disciplinary hearing.
    • If the condition is work related.
    • What reasonable adjustments are indicated.
    • If a stress risk assessment is required.
    • Case conference with OH/Manager/HR recommended.
    • Is frequent short-term absence due to a medical condition or not.

This information is focussed on workplace capability aspects and not on the medical condition which is all the GP can comment on. On receipt of the Occupational Health report Management have far more information about how to manage employee health at work. Working with Occupational Health also means that if employees are referred early, even before an absence occurs, the above advice can be given to keep the employee at work.

Which report would you prefer?

Contact us to book a referral today and experience the difference.