Employers 'fail to recognise' occupational health physician role

Work overlap between GPs and occupational health physicians means many employers are failing to recognise who is best to help their staff, delegates heard.

Dr McMahon: direct patients to the most appropriate physician (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)
Dr McMahon: direct patients to the most appropriate physician (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)

Speaking at the BMA’s Annual Representatives Meeting (ARM) in Brighton on Tuesday, Dr Rachel McMahon, of Cleveland LMC, said it is in the best interests of patients if they are directed to the most appropriate physician for their needs.

She said employers needed to be signposting employees to occupational health physicians, and not just GPs.

Dr McMahon said: ‘They [OHPs] can undertake a proper assessment of the risks on a specific workplace, and any health problems he may have that could impact on that workplace.’

Dr John Canning, chairman of the GPC’s contracts and performance subcommittee, said he was ‘absolutely disgusted’ with the state of the occupational health service in Britain.

He said: ‘A message for the CBI: it constantly criticises us GPs for giving people sick notes, and for all the problems about sick notes.

‘The problem isn’t with us, the problem is with it. It needs to get its act together. It needs to get occupation medicine sorted out.’

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