Employment law

Is health affecting your medical performance

A wide variety of health problems can have an impact on medical performance such as a new diagnosis, an existing condition which has gotten worse or even as a consequence of workplace factors such as stress.

27 January 2020

Doctors stethoscope in front of healthy diet

As a medical professional there may be times when your health might impact your performance at work. If your employer raises concerns, it can be a very stressful time. It’s important to understand what your rights are and what steps your employer is obliged to take to support you in continuing to practice your profession.

If your employer believes your performance has become affected by your health they may consider investigating it further. If there are known health issues, occupational health should be consulted and advice sought from Practitioner Performance Advice, before deciding how to proceed.

If you’re notified that a formal investigation will take place, your employer is obliged to follow the guidance contained in “Maintaining High Professional Standards in the Modern NHS” and you should be told certain information about the investigation, including:

  • The name of the case manager
  • The name of the case investigator
  • What the specific concerns are
  • An opportunity to see all correspondence relating to the case
  • A list of people who are to be interviewed
  • Details of any advice given by Practitioner Performance Advice

Once an investigation has been completed, you should be given an opportunity to comment on the investigation report before the case manager decides how to proceed. If there are clear health concerns, further advice should be requested from occupational health.

Your employer should consider what steps can be taken to keep you in employment and make reasonable adjustments to support you. Such adjustments can include:

  • Altering your working hours or pattern of work
  • Transferring you to another vacancy in the organisation
  • Allowing absence for rehabilitation or treatment
  • Providing additional training or mentoring

If your health condition is expected to last at least 12 months, and impacts on your normal day to day activities (discounting the effects of any treatment you may be receiving) then your condition may be considered a disability under the Equality Act 2010 and your employer is under a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to support you in the workplace.

Exclusion from work should be the last resort. There are many alternative option available which can minimise risks to patients and staff, such as additional medical supervision, or a temporary restriction in medical activities. If your employer is considering an exclusion, or any restrictions in your practice, you should be informed of this as soon as possible and invited to a meeting to discuss the issues and put forward your views.

Our professional misconduct, discipline, and regulatory team have a wealth of experience assisting and representing individuals in front of their professional and regulatory bodies. Contact us on 0330 041 5869 and a member of the team will be able to advise you.

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