Hi Rachael,
 
First of all I think you have been unfairly forced into a decision maker role. Your role should only be an advisory one and management will have to make a decision based on your recommendation(s).
Is the employee's role considered a safety critical one? If not then I don't think you should be expected to declare him/her unfit.
Remember you are not treating her so what you need is her consent for you to request a report from her specialist. Hopefully the specialist report will give you enough information for you to ascertain the seriousness of the problem. This will put you in a good position to advise management on reasonable adjustments or to escalate the problem to an OHP if you think her case is one that merits an ill health retirement assessment (ie if based on the, she is deemed to be a danger to herself and or to the clients in her care).
You're doing the right thing by using the assessment tools you mentioned however you need a history of episodes and treatment to get a clear picture of the nature and degree of her mental health problems.
I hope this is helpful. I'm sure other forumers will add some more to this.
 
best of luck.
 
Kwasi
On 29 January 2015 at 11:02, Rachael Sever <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Thanks Irene

I can refer to an external OHP but require the companies authorisation as this is costly and they prefer not to.

Not able to refer to mental Health team but I will write to the GP.  I had not thought of writing fit according to GP advice – Thanks

 

Rachael

 

 

From: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Irene Douse
Sent: 29 January 2015 10:14
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [OCC-HEALTH] Mental Health - Fitness for work- advise desperately needed please

 

Do you have any access to OHP ? Can you refer to mental health team? Have you raised the issue with the GP? They may be able to offer the information you need , to state fit according to advice from GP etc 

Irene

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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