Guidance for Trainers Managing Health Problems

Published: 2021-09-13 05:45:10
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Guidance for trainers managing health problems
Background
The impact of health problems on employment
Proactive management
Sickness absence management recommendations
Referral process to Occupational Health
Occupational Health Assessment
Medic Support
FAQs on Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA)
Background
It's known that medical staff don't make good patients, and often invoke their own rules regarding their ill health management. Justification for this approach has included a desire not to let colleagues or patients down, a fear that the entire organisation will collapse without the continuous input of the affected practitioner, and concerns about references.

Doctors are no less vulnerable than others to physical and psychological health problems, including depression, stress, alcohol and substance misuse. There are specific issues regarding use and misuse of self-medication.

Doctors can frequently obtain prompt but informal specialist advice from colleagues about specific medical problems. However, a fine line may exist between the appropriate use of the resource that colleagues provide on the one hand and self-diagnosis, investigation and treatment on the other.
The impact of health problems on employment
Although many health problems are minor and self-limiting, the following situations need pro-active management with Occupational Health input:
1. Long term sickness absence
2. Recurrent short term sickness absence
3. Unsatisfactory performance or poor behaviour at work
Proactive management
There is significant evidence that early Occupational Health intervention and proactive management are associated with a greater chance of satisfactory outcome for both the junior doctor and the organisation. Medical staff are more likely to by-pass such active management for variety of reasons, including:
1. Informal cover arrangements may not be notified to medical staffing (but possibly are to the switchboard).
2. The statutory requirement to submit a self-certification form for an absence longer than three days is not always enforced.
3. Similarly, for absences exceeding seven days a certificate would normally be required from a doctor. In some instances medical staff, particularly doctors in training may have difficulty registering with or obtaining an appointment with a GP.
4. It may not be entirely clear who is responsible for managing absence. Candidates include: a. The clinical director or lead consultant

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