This new Government referral service will interact with Occupational Health. It is live across England & Wales but not in N Ireland (employers in Scotland are already able to do this).
It means that GPs can now offer patients a referral to Fit for Work if they are, or are likely to be, absent from work for more than four weeks due to illness. Employers will be able to refer employees to Fit for Work, but be mindful that an employer won’t be able to make a referral where an employees’ GP has already done so.
The referral will offer three assessments for employees who have been off more than four weeks. Normally the GP will use their discretion, ie it is unlikely they will refer the patient who they know that they will return to work within two weeks.
The assessment will be carried out by a Case Manager over the telephone, within two days, or face to face within five days, if they are within a reasonably near location.
The Case Manager will try to agree a return to work plan, which will be sent to the Employer. The Case Manager may contact the employee’s manager to discuss any adjustments that may be required.
There is no legal obligation to comply by the Employer.
For further details telephone Fit For work: 0800 032 6235 or http://fitforwork.org/