Occupational Health and long-term sickness absence

July 05 2021

Occupational health advice can be of great assistance to employers when an employee is on long-term sickness or about to return to work after a lengthy absence. 

Some companies have their own in-house occupational health team but more and more are turning to outside agencies like My Occ Health to provide this all-important service. This makes complete sense as we are, after all, experts in the field and are dealing with these sorts of situations on a daily basis.  

What does it mean?

In cases of a return to work following a lengthy illness or continuing long-term absence, the occupational health adviser conducts an assessment of the employee and then feeds that information back to the employer so they can decide what if any action needs to be taken. 

Long-term sickness covers a period of time four weeks or longer when a person is absent from work with a health problem and the occupational health adviser is key in facilitating a safe return to work.

It’s a vital procedure for employers in understanding what needs to be done for the employee to recover from illness, put a structure in place for a return to work, what changes may need to be made to help the employee do their job and to be made aware of anything which may affect future health or absence. This can involve:

  • Addressing policies and culture within the workplace
  • Making workplace adjustments 
  • Maintaining contact with someone on sick leave
  • Providing early intervention in terms of treatments, counselling and rehabilitation

Getting concise, cogent medical advice is an important part of keeping your employee files updated, allowing you to plan your business and workforce more efficiently.

Providing the service you need

Our My Occ Health pay-as-you-need doctor-led service provides top quality advice and answers important questions which will help you decide on a course of action. Our team can review hospital and medical records – it is often the case that long-term absence is associated with multiple comorbidities and it is inevitable that some will have more relevance to a role and workplace than others.

Each one of our consultations will take into account the psycho-social aspect of absence through sickness and underlying, or overlaying depression can be a major exacerbating factor which has an adverse effect on recovery and a return to work.

It’s all about sweeping away any uncertainty about the medical status of an employee which will help you, as the employer, come to an informed decision about what to do next.


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