Cleveland GP Dr Rachel McMahon, of the BMA junior members forum, said it was in patients' interest to be directed to the most appropriate physician for their needs.
Employers should be signposting employees to occupational health physicians, and not just GPs, she argued.
Dr McMahon told the conference: '(Occupational health physicians) can undertake a proper assessment of the risks of patients' specific workplace, and any health problems they may have that could impact on that workplace.'
Dr John Canning, a member of GPC, said he was 'absolutely disgusted' with the state of the occupational health service in the UK and urged companies to improve support for employees.
'A message for the CBI: it constantly criticises us GPs for giving people sick notes, and for all the problems about sick notes,' he said.
'The problem isn't with us, the problem is with it. It needs to get its act together. It needs to get occupational medicine sorted out.'