From 1st January 2011 Working Well implemented a revised, simplified health clearance process for new staff in line with recent changes to the law and NHS guidance. We hope that staff will find the new system easier, quicker and more helpful but any new process may produce unforeseen difficulties and we therefore intend to review the system in 3 months time so that any issues identified can be addressed.
Recruiting managers will be required to ensure that a risk assessment is undertaken for any post being advertised. Greater detail about any health or fitness standards for the post will be required in the Person Specification. Guidance to help you consider possible risks can be found on the Information sheet accompanying this brief but HR or Working Well Occupational Health can provide further advice.
All new staff will be sent a welcome letter from Working Well occupational health (WW1) and the recruiting manager should include this with the offer letter. Posts are now divided into clinical and non clinical and the definitions for these groups can also be found in the Information sheet.
Non clinical staff will be sent a Health Declaration (WW2) with their offer letter which is returned to the recruiting manager. If the new employee answers “No” and all other checks are satisfactory, then the appointment can go ahead without further input from Occupational Health. If the prospective employee answers “Yes” the recruiting manager should complete the identification form (WW3) and attach it to WW2, sending both through to Working Well for assessment in the usual way. It is very important that the manager completes all the information requested on WW3 including the section about Job Hazards.
For clinical staff, the recruiting manager will send out the Short Health Declaration (WW4) with the job offer letter, having completed the relevant manager’s sections on the form. This form will be returned to Working Well who will assess this and respond by email wherever possible. Staff with clinical contact should also be sent WW5 asking them to provide appropriate evidence of vaccination and immunity. A proportion of staff will be required to undertake exposure prone procedures (for an explanation of this please see the Information Sheet). These staff will also require WW6 to be sent to them in addition to the other paperwork.
Working Well will send you a fitness slip by email, within 48 hours unless further information is required. Information regarding the immunity assessment will be sent separately and updated as appropriate so that managers can retain up to date information about staff immunity on file.
In specific situations, further assessment will also be required and these include:
Regular use of latex gloves.
Explanations of these categories can be found on the Information Sheet and where applicable, the relevant form should be sent to the new employee. These forms are also “health declarations” and need only be forwarded to occupational health in the case of a positive response. The manager can retain the form on the personal file in order to comply with various pieces of legislation.
The same process will apply to volunteer and non-substantive staff. An individual assessment of the need for vaccinations and immunity checks will be made in these cases because of the marked variation in duties.
Your HR departments have been briefed about these changes. Please let us know if you have any concerns or encounter any difficulties so that we can make any amendments as necessary.
Forms and Policies can be found at:
Some health and safety regulations require employers to provide health surveillance for their employees. A lot of organisations do not realise that Health Surveillance Screening may be required to meet UK and European health and safety legislation appropriate to your work or exposure.
Health surveillance is about systematically watching out for early signs of work-related ill health in employees exposed to certain health risks. Health surveillance requirements are often identified through Risk Assesments of particualar hazards. If the measures that you have taken to control the risk do not eliminate the risk, surveillance may be required. It can be undertaken when employees begin employment, and regularly after that. It may include:
Statutory Examinations including those who work under the Ionising Radiation and the Lead Regulations
Health Surveillance Examinations for employees exposed to particular hazards which may include Spirometry (breathing), Audiometry (hearing), Dermatology (Skin) and Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
For more information on the occupational health services that Working Well can offer, and to ensure that you are meeting your legislative requirements, please call us using our contact details above.
The Equality Act becomes law on 1st October 2010 and this will affect the way we approach health issues at recruitment. It will become illegal to ask questions about the health of an individual prior to the offer of employment. Exceptions apply where it is necessary to establish that an applicant is able to carry out a function intrinsic to the job, including safety critical roles. Employers may wish to seek legal clarification over the criteria for exceptions. Further details can be found at:
• The Department of Health have commissioned NHS Plus and NHS Employers to develop a process for pre-employment to comply with the new legislation. This was announced in the Workforce bulletin in August 2010. The new process is due to be completed in a few weeks with an implementation date of 1st October. Further details are available at:
We hope for those of you that use our Working Well Pre-Placement Health Services, that this gives you a better picture of the changing national agenda. In preparation for compliance with the Equality Act and in order to streamline processes to provide a faster and more responsive service Working Well have already been developing new simplified health declarations and on-line processes so would anticipate that we will be able to readily adapt these to the new requirements depending upon how your organisation decide to interpret and implement these.
Dr Susan Hunt, Associate Medical Director of Working Well said “Until the new process is released we unfortunately cannot offer any further guidance at this time, but as a joint issue for both ourselves and HR we will want to work with our client organisation recruitment colleagues to best position ourselves to respond”.
For more information, please contact your Working Well Link Practitioner, or discuss your organisation’s needs with the Working Well team.
Updated Information can be found at:
Although not exclusively, the profile has notably been raised through the Black Report and the Boorman Review (link below) which reinforces the benefits of a healthy workforce, and how occupational health can support business output.
Working Well have seen an increase in clients’ interest in services such as onsite health awareness events, where the unit has promoted healthy lifestyles through offering health advice and signposting on various topics. Jackie Chapman, Working Well’s Clinical Services Manager said “Workforce health appears to be increasingly popular on Executive’s radar. Employees feel valued by their employer when they are investing in their personal health and wellbeing and this improves morale. As we know high morale means high productivity, and this gives employers a return on their investment”.
Working Well continues to consider new opportunities which will complement its current range of services and now offers onsite cholesterol checks, weight, diet, smoking cessation and mental health advice along with a range of other services to improve physical and mental health at work. To show its belief in the benefits of the model, Working Well has developed an exclusive role within their unit dedicated to the re-energised Health and Wellbeing agenda.
For more information about national health promotion publications, please click on our guidance pages;
New Working Well website is online! Wednesday 1st September 2010 saw the release of the Service’s new look website, celebrating the new name and soft relaunch of the Service.
Dr Sue Hunt, Associate Medical Director for Working Well said “I’m really impressed with all the hardwork and effort that our team have invested to ensure our new site is professional and easy to use. We hope that all our prospective and existing clients will find real value in the resources available”.
The service has undergone radical transformations over the last 18 months to improve efficiency and embrace technological development. Chris Woon, Service Director added “The new website is only a piece in the jigsaw, but one that we hope will continue to strengthen our position as an Occupational Health provider of choice for small and medium size businesses”.
Working Well is in the August/ September Edition of Occupational Health [at Work].
In a case study examining the use of Information Technology in Occupational Health, Working Well has been held up as a pioneer for introducing new IT innovation into the NHS. Nadim Hakim, Working Well’s Information Services Technician said in response to the article; “We are all very proud that all our hard work is being recognised on a national scale and we hope that this publicitiy will allow other NHS Services to learn from our implementation experience”.
For more information please seek out this bi-months issue of Occupational Health [at Work].