Renfrewshire Council

Occupational Health

Our Occupational Health (OH) Team can provide professional advice on your health, wellbeing and fitness for work.

Early support can include your referral to Occupational Health for medical advice and to access physiotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), if needed.

A referral will normally be arranged if your absence is likely to continue for 2 weeks or more without a return to work date being given. You may be referred sooner if you might benefit from early physiotherapy or mental health support.  

Occupational Health referral process

Referrals to Occupational Health can be arranged for you at any stage of the managing absence process and will mean a report is available containing up to date medical advice at Absence Review Meetings.

How to make an occupational health referral is explained on the occupational health and counselling page on the intranet, (you'll need to be on a Council device).

Occupational Health referrals can provide your line manager with: 

  • confirmation on how your current or previous underlying medical conditions may impact on your attendance at work     
  • an update on your fitness for work and any progress with your current health issues 
  • advice on whether you are likely to be classed as having a disability (under the Equality Act 2010) 
  • an indication of when you are likely to be able to return to work 
  • advice on any reasonable workplace support or adjustments that we should consider 
  • access to physiotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy if this would be helpful to you 
  • guidance on any work related health and wellbeing concerns you may have raised 
  • advice on your fitness to keep in touch or attend an absence review meeting; and 
  • guidance on your eligibility for ill health retirement, if appropriate.  

Reasons for a referral  

When your manager refers you to Occupational Health, they'll give the reasons they're referring you, along with relevant information about your working arrangements, health, situation, and sickness absence history. 

Your manager will share the referral reasons with you before you attend an appointment with the Occupation Health Clinician. 

Appointment details and location 

Appointments will normally take place by phone and can take 30 to 45 minutes. Appointment details will be sent via text message to your mobile phone number, if provided, or your line manager will update you. 

To take a phone appointment call from the Occupational Health clinician, you should be in a private area where you will not be disturbed. If you're at work, your manager can help you find a suitable space if needed. 

Please make sure you can receive the incoming appointment phone call. It may be affected by any call restriction settings you have selected on your personal phone. 

Sometimes a face to face appointment at the local Occupational Health office might be necessary, for example if you are having certain physiotherapy treatment, or for easier communication if you have a sensory impairment or learning difficulty. 

Cancelling or rearranging your appointment 

Please let your manager know as soon as possible if you cannot make the scheduled appointment.

If there is a need to cancel or reschedule the appointment, 2 days' notice must be given to Occupational Health. This allows the appointment to be given to another colleague and the Council will not be charged for the missed appointment.  

Occupational Health reports

After the appointment, and with your consent, the Occupational Health clinician will prepare a report for your manager. The report will provide a medical update and the advice requested during the referral. This will be discussed with you during your absence review meeting or follow up meeting.  

An Occupational Health report for cognitive behavioural therapy or physiotherapy provides different information. It will confirm the appointment took place and provide a brief update on the treatment plan. The physiotherapy report may also contain key advice to be followed at work. The discussions that take place during a cognitive behavioural therapy appointment are not shared with anyone. 

Once the Occupational Health report has been received, your manager will discuss it with you and can give you a copy. In most cases this discussion will take place at an absence review, or any arranged follow up meeting. 

If you have not provided your consent for an Occupational Health report to be shared with your line manager, we'll try to resolve any concerns you may have about this.  

Case conferences 

If your sickness absence is complex, difficult to resolve or there are any health and safety concerns, your manager may suggest having a case conference. This is a confidential meeting that can be arranged, with your agreement, after an Occupational Health appointment has taken place. In attendance will normally be you, your companion, Occupational Health representative, your line manager, HR&OD and any other appropriate person.  

The main purpose of the meeting is to discuss the key issues, offer you support and identify possible solutions, being mindful of your health and wellbeing and work demands. This is an ideal opportunity for everyone to share their views and agree the best way forward. The main discussions and agreed actions will be noted.

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