Often it will be due to one of the following reasons:
The Access to Medical Reports Act states that an employer may have access reports provided by a medical practitioner which are in connection with their employment.
Section 3 of the Access to Medical Reports Act states that the employee has to give his or her consent for their employer to be given access to their medical records.
This means that an employer cannot ask a doctor to provide a medical report on one of his employees without first asking for consent of that employee.
The act applies to anyone who is under employment and anyone who is seeking employment with a particular employer.
An employer can only obtain a medical report from a medical practitioner if it specifically relates to employment or insurance.
As an employer you must notify the employee or prospective employee concerned that you intent to apply to their doctor or medical practitioner to see their medical records.
Contained within the notification must be full details of the employee’s rights under the Access to Medical Reports Act.
An employer must obtain the employees written consent which must then be provided to the doctor in order to be provided with access to the requisite report.
An employee can do the following things under the Act:
If an employee states that the report can be sent but they wish to see it first under Section 4 of the Act the doctor or medical practitioner must wait 21 days before sending the report to the employer. During this period the employee must make suitable arrangements to either come and see the report or have it sent to them.
If they do not do this within the 21 days then the report will be sent to the employer.
Under Section 5 of the Act an employee can request the doctor to amend the report if they feel that it is incorrect or misleading.
The doctor can agree to amend the report but if they do not they can attach details of the employees views and state which they did not make any changes.
An employee is entitled to withhold their consent for a report to be provided to an employer having been provided access to it under Section 4 of the Act.
If an occupational health assessment is part of your recruitment process then as an employer you can refuse an individual employment.
Section 6 of the Act states that doctors will retain all reports requested by employers for six months. During this time the employee will be able to request access to them.
Section 7 of the Act states that the doctor does not have the show the employee information which they believe might cause serious harm to the employee’s physical or mental health or that of third parties.
In relation to medical information concerning their employees all employers should be aware of the following:
The Data Protection Act specifies that all personal data held regarding employees must be kept in an organised filing system. Data in relation to health is regarded as sensitive under the Data Protection Act meaning that consent must be given by the employee in order to lawfully process it. obtaining consent in the above format using the Access to Medical Reports Act will be sufficient.
The Act states that employers cannot discriminate against employees who are disabled, as defined by the Act, and that they have a duty to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace in order to accommodate the disability.
An employee should tell their employer regarding a disability but if this is not the case an employer can request the medical records in order to establish whether they need to make reasonable adjustments.
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