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OCC-HEALTH  January 2015

OCC-HEALTH January 2015

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Subject:

Re: Mental Health - Fitness for work- advise desperately needed please

From:

Anna <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Occupational Health mailing list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:52:14 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (80 lines)

Hiya

I think the terms fit/unfit are very mis-leading. The terms "no adjustments 
need" or "recommend the following adjustments....." are more accurate. It is 
their decision to decide if the can continue employing the individual with 
or without adaptations and knowledge of sickness absence history. Remember 
you are assessing based on what you know and the predictable/expected not on 
the unforeseeable/unexpected. I think it is sensible to obtain a GP report 
to gain history of MH.

Anna
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rachael Sever" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2015 9:50 AM
Subject: [OCC-HEALTH] Mental Health - Fitness for work- advise desperately 
needed please


Hello

I was wondering if anyone could help me regarding mental health screening 
for carers working with vulnerable people with learning disabilities.
I am a single handed practitioner employed as the in house occupational 
health nurse at an organisation who cares for people with learning 
disabilities.
Fitness for employment screening is performed for care workers following an 
offer of employment as per CQC requirements as the employee is required to 
be physically and mentally fit to perform their duties.  Usually during 
pre-employment I advise ‘fit or fit with adjustments as are reasonable 
practicable ‘(and I advise what adjustments are likely to be required).
However a member of staff has had frequent sickness absence due to 
depression and some nasty effects including suicidal ideation in their 
probationary period.  Their temporary contract is due to end soon and my 
manager / the company want me to advise if the individuals is fit to 
continue in a permanent position of care officer.

My concern is this….
I am happy and feel competent in advising regarding returning to work and 
fitness to perform duties with adjustments etc and am fully aware of all the 
legislation regarding disability etc; however I am concerned on making a 
direct decision as to whether someone is fit or not fit around mental health 
issues (this will end their employment). I also am reluctant to give a 
simple not fit (without advising adjustments) as this is against what I have 
learnt on Equality Act  training conferences etc). I do use the PHQ 9 & GAD 
assessments in my practice and can identify foreseeable risks for the 
residents.  It’s the unforeseeable that I worry about.  As I am not a mental 
health nurse or qualified in psychiatry I am concerned that if I did 
consider them unfit then my decision may be questioned as I believe the 
employee is likely to peruse legal action.

Any advice on this case would be greatly appreciated and also any assessment 
tools / questions used when assessing mental health fitness for employment 
as I would like to make sure I am consistent with other approaches and ask 
similar questions when assessing mental health.

Many Thanks in advance

Regards

Rachael

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