Why do I need Health Surveillance?

It is well known that there are a number of health hazards involved in everybody’s work.  It is important to be aware of these and to monitor their effect on the workforce, so that they can be prevented and controlled in the future.

Why can’t my GP do it?

Your health at work is the responsibility of your employer, who must therefore provide such facilities that are necessary to ensure your protection from occupational health risks and to fund these.  GP’s are specialists in their own field of medicine as Occupational Health professionals are in theirs; a GP cannot be expected to have the same degree of knowledge of work related health problems as an Occupational Physician.

Is it confidential?

Yes - all medical services are governed by the strictest codes of confidentiality, both by medical ethics and by legislation.  No medical information is given to your employer without your signed informed consent.  Advice on the action required to ensure your protection is all that is necessary.  The company also receives statistical information to identify areas of concern and to help them to comply with health and safety legislation.

Would they test my urine for drugs or alcohol?

No - the sample you give is tested only for glucose, blood and protein which, if present, would indicate that further investigation would be needed and this would have to be done in a laboratory via your GP.

If they find something wrong, would they tell my doctor?

They would like to do so to ensure your continuing care, but would require your written consent which you may choose not to give.

Why do they need the following information?

N.I.  Number

This number will identify you after you have left the company and will be on all your other medical notes.  This would be important if you wished to gather medical notes from various sources for whatever reason in the future.

Previous work

You may have evidence of disease which could be related to your work, past or present.

Current job

To have an understanding of risks involved in your work and to make correct medical assessment of any damage to your health.

Previous medical history

You may have a history of a previous condition which would make you more at risk than other people doing the same job, e.g. asthma sufferers exposed to lung irritants.

Sex and age

There are general physical differences which occur, directly related to these two factors.

Place of birth

There are sometimes pockets of prevalence of diseases and conditions in certain geographical areas or as result of local environment which could be relevant to your health.

Knowledge Bank