Health at Work & Medical Records, Reports and Confidentiality

1. General

Members of Staff or their representatives, normally authorised in writing, may apply for access to their occupational health records, which are held by or through the University’s Health and Safety Services department.

The Data Protection Act 1998 and in some cases The Access to Medical Reports Act, gives an individual the right to access personal information that the University holds about them. Records may be accessed within certain timescales once the ‘data controller’ is sure that they are entitled to see the record.

You can do this by making a subject access request to the Planning & Governance Office here.

2. Medical / Health Reports or Records - Written Consent

Occasionally, the University may have reason to request specialist Reports from a Medical Professional regarding a member of staff’s health and the impact on their work.

Where a Report is requested the member of staff’s consent, referred to as “patient consent”, is required before a request is made.

Note: since 2009 Occupational Health Professionals are advised according to good practice guidance on confidentiality provided by the General Medical Council (GMC) that when a request from the Employer seeking a Medical Report regarding their employee, express written consent is obtained before disclosing medical information for purposes other than the provision of their care, such as insurance or benefits claims.

If a member of staff refuses to give consent for a Medical Report to be sent to be sought or subsequently provided to the relevant Manager and Human Resources, then any information in relation to risks identified or any adjustments recommended will still be forwarded to the manager and Human Resources Officer, but no medical detail or information will be released, as appropriate.

• Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

In order to ensure the health and safety of employees and others it may be necessary to obtain employee consent for limited release of otherwise confidential information to relevant parties. Where consent to release confidential information cannot be obtained then general advice will be given, sufficient to ensure health and safety. In some cases this may involve suspension of certain duties.

3. Confidentiality

Health and Safety Services holds all current Staff members Occupational Health Records and Reports. It is staffed by a registered Nursing Practitioner who provides a confidential service and other professionals who must abide by the confidentiality procedures.

This ensures that personal information is treated in medical confidence, and will not be passed on unless an employee gives consent. The exception to this is where information is provided that may pose a significant risk to the health and safety of the individual or others.

4. Professional Standards

Bangor University, through its Occupational Health Practitioner, is bound by a strict code of conduct governed by professional bodies.

5. Guidance Documentation

Health and Safety Services, through the Occupational Health Practitioner will follow up to date standards and guidance for practice in accordance with the following example documentation listed below:

The NMC Code of Professional Conduct: Professional Standards of Practice & Behaviour for Nurses & Midwives 2015
(https://www.nmc.org.uk/standards/code/read-the-code-online - accessed on 3rd October 2016)

General Medical Council (GMC) Review of Confidentiality guidance (2009)
(http://www.gmc-uk.org/Confidentiality___English_1015.pdf_48902982.pdf - accessed on 3rd October 2016)

Equality Act 2010
(https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance - accessed on 3rd October 2016)

Managing Long-Term Sickness Absence and Incapacity for Work NICE Public Health Guidance 2009
(https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph19 - accessed on 3rd October 2016)

HSE Absence Management Toolkit
(http://www.hse.gov.uk/sicknessabsence/toolkit.htm - accessed on 3rd October 2016)

6. Sickness Absence Records

Information on accessing Sickness Absence Records is available in the following document.