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Competency 4 – Maintaining relationship with patients:Deal with employers in an appropriate way

Objective: to ensure the appreciation of the professional position of the OH advisor, employer and employees

SKILLS

DEAL WITH EMPLOYERS IN AN APPROPRIATE WAY (see also ‘Communication’ (Competency 3).

Advice to employers and management about an employee should always be given in terms of the individual’s ‘limitations of function’ and ‘fitness to perform specific tasks’. Clinical details should not be given to a member of management. However, if the occupational health advisor is of the opinion that informing management of specific medical details would be beneficial to the employees, then informed written consent must be obtained from the employee prior to divulging such information to management. One example would be informing management of an insulin dependant diabetic employee of their condition. This knowledge may prove vital to first aiders or management if such an individual was found collapsed whilst in work.

When dealing with managers it is important to make the distinction between the needs of the particular employer, and the health and welfare of workers, both individually and collectively.

This can be achieved by

  • Listening actively
  • Using appropriate language.
  • Avoiding breaches of medical confidentiality.
  • Avoiding medico-legally inappropriate communication. 
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