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Your occupational health team are here to provide advice to help you to achieve your full potential at work.  When your role exposes you to specific work hazards, we are also here to support maintaining your safety at work through providing the vaccinations to protect you and health surveillance to monitor that you are not experiencing any ill effects from your work exposures.

Find out how to access our range of services:

Coronavirus - Covid-19

Support for a Return to campus

From July 2021 Line Managers will start discussions with their teams, about either returning to or increasing hours on campus,  in preparation for September.  For those staff who have concerns about this a Return to campus form has been created to support and record individual conversations between them and their line manager.

There will be people who are feeling anxious about returning to campus, particularly perhaps if they have an underlying condition or they have not been on campus for some considerable time.  All staff can access the EAP at any time of day to seek support and advice, up to and including 6 sessions of counselling, to support and help them achieve a successful return to campus.

Some people, despite receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations, may continue to have an increased risk of contracting Covid-19 infection.   These are people who were previously identified as Extremely Clinically Vulnerable individuals and who will have received updated advice, on their continued risk, from their (NHS) treating clinicians when shielding ended.  To support Line Managers in managing their return to campus a Covid-19 Return to campus Referral can be made to receive Occupational Health advice on any additional measures that could be taken, within their work area or role to support their return to campus or increasing hours on campus as safely as possible.  

These referrals can be made directly to Occupational Health using the Covid-19 Return to Campus Referral form which can be emailed to: occupationalhealth@contacts.bham.ac.uk

For people with underlying health conditions, who were not classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, further advice is available from Other conditions and coronavirus (Covid-19).  If additional advice is sought, to support a return to campus, then the OH management referral via the HR Service Portal using the OH Management Referral form should be used. 

Covid-19 Vaccination

All adults are now available to arrange their Covid-19 vaccinations online directly with the NHS.  Occupational Health is not able to either provide this vaccination nor support individuals to access it before they are called for vaccination by their GP or the NHS.

Long-Covid (also known as Ongoing symptomatic Covid-19 or Post-Covid-19 syndrome)

Long-Covid is a new condition and more will become known over time.  However here is what is known at the moment:

The time taken to recover from the initial Covid-19 infection is different for everyone, but for many people symptoms have resolved by 12 weeks.

The likelihood of developing long-term symptoms is not thought to be linked to the severity of the initial Covid-19 infection.

There are lots of different symptoms that people can experience following Covid-19 infection - Common symptoms of ongoing symptomatic Covid-19 and post-Covid-19 Syndrome - and those with underlying health problems may find these worsen with Covid-19 infection.

People who develop new or ongoing symptoms may find these can change, affecting them in different ways and at different times.

When to seek medical help

People who are concerned about new or ongoing symptoms four weeks or more after their acute Covid-19 infection should seek medical advice from their GP.

Following appropriate investigations (dependent on your symptoms) and confirmation that these are not being caused by another health condition, you may be referred to a multidisciplinary assessment service by your GP.  This is not dependent on you having evidence of previous Covid-19 infection - such as a positive test.

There are Long-Covid clinics either running or in the process of being set-up across England.  Locally across the Midlands and surrounding areas, these are:

  • University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW)
  • Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Shropshire Community Health Trust
  • Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust
  • Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust
  • Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
  • The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

Impact on work

Talk to your line manager if you are finding managing work with your symptoms difficult. Adjustments to your work can then be reviewed to support you whilst you are still recovering.

Your line manager may also wish to refer you to Occupational Health for further advice and guidance on support and adjustments for you.

If you are returning from a period of absence then a flexible phased return is likely to support you managing this transition whilst you may have ongoing symptoms.

Further information and support

References

 Disability support

Who is defined as disabled?

There are many kinds of disability, some more widely understood and visible than others. Many of us who work at the University may have a disability that is covered by the Equality Act 2010 without even realising it.  

Legally, under the Act, a person is likely to be considered disabled if they have a mental or physical impairment that has an adverse effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. This effect must be:

  • Substantial: in other words, not minor or trivial. The person is still considered disabled if the effects of their impairment are alleviated or removed by ongoing treatments or aids.
  • Long-term: this is usually taken to mean that it has lasted, or is likely to last, for more than 12 months. 

This definition is quite broad and can include people with cystic fibrosis, depression, dyslexia, repetitive strain injury (RSI) or a severe facial disfigurement.  Some people have conditions that are defined in the Equality Act as being a disability from the point of their diagnosis.  These are: cancer, HIV infection and Multiple Sclerosis.

Some people with a disability will know that they require adjustments, to enable them to work, and others may not.  Access to Work is a Government scheme to support people with disabilities to be able to access work and stay in work by providing an assessment, advice on adjustments and funding (full funding is provided for people starting with a new employer and for up to six weeks after starting).  To access this scheme the person with the disability must apply for Access to Work support themselves.

I have a disability – do I have to tell the University?

It is up to you whether or not you tell the University that you are disabled. However, the University is working hard to create an environment in which staff are happy to disclose their disability. 

Telling us that you are disabled is particularly important if you might need any adjustments to carry out your job and if you have applied to Access to Work for their support. It will be very difficult, and in many cases impossible, for the University to provide these if you do not tell us. In addition, telling us can also help the University to improve the way it works with disabled staff – for example this information can help us to assess the impact of University practices on disabled staff. 

To disclose a disability to the University you can alter your status on Core to disabled from Personal Details under Disability Info and you will also need to inform your line manager, if you would like to discuss potential adjustments; such as additional equipment or changes to the way in which you work.  For further information on how to do this please see the canvas course - Update Personal Details

What can the University do to assist me?

For information on how the University can assist you please visit Reasonable Adjustments and also refer to the Quick Guide to making Reasonable Adjustments that is available from that page.

The Equality Act defines 'reasonable adjustments' as adjustments to:

  • Provisions, criteria or practices (the way things are done)
  • Physical features (the built environment)
  • Auxiliary aids (providing specialist equipment or services)

The most common types of adjustment include:

  • the services of a support worker (for example, a personal assistant or sign-language interpreter)
  • equipment (for example, assistive computer software or an adjustable height desk)
  • transcription of written materials into accessible formats (for example braille or large print)
  • adjustments to workplaces or the physical environment
  • adjustments to an employee's duties, working routine or conditions of service or the provision of disability leave

'Reasonable' is difficult to define here, but it is important to remember that all adjustments must be aimed at addressing particular barriers you face, and that you have a right to be fully involved in any discussions about adjustments. Clearly not all potential adjustments would be reasonable to make, but if a request or suggestion that you make is not accepted, you should be given a clear explanation of why it was not reasonable.  To support you and your line manager in these discussions a referral may be made to Occupational Health for our advice.

How can I be mentally healthy at work?

You can access support from the University's EAP provider Health Assured.

We have produced a document on Mental Wellbeing at Work, which raises awareness of mental health problems and provides guidance for staff (including managers) about creating a mentally healthy workplace: Mental Wellbeing at Work

Mind, the mental health charity, have produced some fantastic resources on this topic: Mind website

Accessing the Work Mental Health Support Service

Remploy provide the University with this Service, which is funded by the Department for Work & Pensions, provides confidential one-to-one workplace mental health support.  What can you expect when accessing this service?

  • A wellbeing plan, to help you stay in, or return to work
  • Workplace adjustments
  • Coping strategies
  • expert advice and support for nine months

So far, Remploy has already supported thousands of people with a mental health condition who are absent from work or  finding work difficult, to stay in, or return to their job.

Of these, 93% of people are still in work after six months.

Remploy will not inform the University that you are accessing this service, unless you want them to. 

To book an appointment please email: chris.kingsbury@remploy.co.uk or bethany.kimberley@remploy.co.uk 

To qualify, you need to:

  • Be in permanent or temporary employment (attending work or signed off)
  • Be an employee or apprentice of the University
  • Have a mental health condition (diagnosed or undiagnosed) that has caused you to be off work, or that is making it hard for you to undertake your duties and responsibilities whilst at work

If you have any queries before accessing this National Service than please visit https://www.remploy.co.uk/employers/mental-health-and-wellbeing/workplace-mental-health-support-service-employers

 Occupational Health Referrals

Management Referral to Occupational Health 

What is a Management Referral?

It is a referral to Occupational Health completed by your line manager. The role of Occupational Health is to advise the University and yourself by preparing a report for your manager on how your health may affect you at work and recommend adjustments that could be made to support for example a return to work or long-standing impairment. Examples of this may include: long-standing illness; return to work after sickness; level of attendance; or a combination of factors. The whole process is conducted via the HR Service Portal using the OH Management Referral form

How do I get one?

Your first port of call should be to speak to your line manager if you have a health condition that may be affecting your work. They will then be able to decide whether to refer you to Occupational Health, explaining their reasoning. Should they refer you, they will go direct to the HR Service Portal to start the ball rolling. 

If you are due to return to work after sickness absence there is not usually a requirement for you to attend an appointment with Occupational Health.  Adjustments to assist your return such as altered hours or duties can be discussed and agreed with your Line Manager in the first instance - your GP may already have indicated these on your fit note. 

What happens next?

If the referral is accepted you will have a confidential one-to-one appointment with an Occupational Health Clinician. When you have been offerred a telephone or video appointment, the clinician will make contact with you at the time of your appointment.  The information that has been provided about your situation and the questions that have been posed to Occupational Health will be discussed with you. 

The Occupational Health Clinician will ask you some questions so that they can gain further information from you about your health.  This information will enable them to form an opinion on the questions that are being asked. If appropriate you may be provided with healthcare or lifestyle advice as part of the referral process.  In some cases you may be asked to consent for a report to be requested from your General Practitioner or treating Specialist under the Access to Medical Reports Act (1988) for information to assist the clinician in answering the questions posed. 

At the end of the consultation you will be provided with an outline of the report that the Clinician will write.  At this point your consent to release the report will be sought.  You have the option to receive a copy or to see the report prior to its release to the University, for the purpose of ensuring that the report is factually accurate. 

Covid-19 Return to campus referrals

There will be people who are feeling anxious about returning to campus, particularly perhaps if they have an underlying condition or they have not been on campus for some considerable time.  All staff can access the EAP at any time of day to seek support and advice, up to and including 6 sessions of counselling, to support and help them achieve a successful return to campus.

Some people, despite receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations, may continue to have an increased risk of contracting Covid-19 infection.   These are people who were previously identified as Extremely Clinically Vulnerable individuals and who will have received updated advice, on their continued risk, from their (NHS) treating clinicians when shielding ended.  To support Line Managers in managing their return to campus a Covid-19 Return to campus Referral can be made to receive Occupational Health advice on any additional measures that could be taken, within their work area or role to support their return to campus or increasing hours on campus as safely as possible.  

These referrals can be made directly to Occupational Health using the Covid-19 Return to Campus Referral form which can be emailed to: occupationalhealth@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Students

Undergraduates 

Undergraduate Occupational Health services for Medicine, Dentistry, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy and Nursing are provided by the Occupational Health Hub at the Old Queen Elizabeth Hospital, accessible by visiting http://www.uhb.nhs.uk or by telephoning 0121 371 7170

Student Support (Counselling, Wellbeing, Disability, Mental Health or Learning Support) is accessed by visiting http://www.studenthelp.bham.ac.uk/ or by telephoning 0121 414 5130 

Postgraduates

Postgraduate Occupational Health services for Dip MSc Exercise & Sports Medicine, MSc Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy, MSc Physio (Pre-Reg) F/T, PGDip Advanced Manipulative Phsyiotherapy, and PGDip Physician Associate (January and May intakes) are provided by the Occupational Health Hub at the Old Queen Elizabeth Hospital, accessible by visiting http://www.uhb.nhs.uk or by telephoning 0121 371 7170

Those postgraduates studying within our STEM Colleges, who undertake laboratory work, may also receive vaccination and health surveillance services from us to ensure they are not harmed by any hazards to health that they may come into contact with.  If this applies to you then your Lab Manager or PI will contact us on your behalf to request these services.

 Health Clearance

Health Clearance & Surveillance 

What services do you provide?

Your supervisor, line manager or health and safety co-ordinator needs to submit a commissioning form to us requesting the agreed service.  A request for vaccination and Respiratory health surveillance is now available from the dedicated, confidential and encrypted eOPAS Portal that enables direct submission into the occupational health management software.  To utilise this your supervisor, line manager or health and safety co-ordinator will need to create an account, for this Portal, and should contact the team on 0121 414 5116 to receive the code allocated to your work area.  To create an account please visit: https://eopas-portal.bham.ac.uk/.  You may also need to submit supplementary paperwork before you come and see us – for example, previous medical history. 

Psychology students undertaking a work placement as part of their degree will require health clearance if studying on Clinical Psychology Doctorate, Clinical Psychology MRes or Psychology & Psychological Practice MSci, Forensic Clinical Psychology Doctorate and Forensic Psychology Practice Doctorate.  For information on what this involves please see Psychology Health Clearance Requirements. 

What happens next?

Once we have processed this request, you may be called for an appointment to see one of our clinicians (this will depend on the request being made and on any information that you may already have been able to provide to us). You will be given details of anything you need to bring with you, or if you need more than one appointment. Any requisite paperwork will be distributed to the relevant person on completion of the service. 

 Travel

I’m travelling abroad on University business, do I need a vaccination?

It depends where you’re going! Your line manager needs to access the dedicated, confidential and encrypted eOPAS Portal that enables direct submission into the occupational health management software.  To access this for the first time your line manager will need to create an account, for this Portal, and should contact the team on 0121 414 5116 to receive the code allocated to your work area.  To create an account please visit: https://eopas-portal.bham.ac.uk/.  You may also need to submit supplementary paperwork before you come and see us – for example, previous medical history.  Once we receive the completed documents a clinician can advise you in more detail. 

How much notice do I need to give you?

We need at least 8 weeks’ notice: some courses of vaccinations are long and require multiple appointments. 

 FAQs

How do I contact you?

By telephoning us on 0121 414 5116 (x45116) or by emailing occupationalhealth@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

How can I be mentally healthy at work?

We have produced a document on Mental Wellbeing at Work and intranet content on Mental Health and the Workplace, which raises awareness of mental health problems and provides guidance for staff (including managers) about creating a mentally healthy workplace.

There are also fantastic resources on this topic available from Mind, the mental health charity.

Do you replace my GP’s services?

We do not offer GP practice services. If you have an immediate health issue you should contact your family doctor as normal or telephone 111 for the NHS non-emergency line. 

For remote appointments will you send me a meeting invite?

Appointments with Occupational Health are scheduled using our dedicated OH software which is not linked to other University software, such as Teams.  When you have been offerred a video appointment, the clinician will make direct contact with you at the time of your appointment.  

I’m pregnant, or thinking about trying, what do I need to do?

Please access the University’s pregnancy and maternity guidance page; it includes Health and Safety advice for New and Expectant Mothers at Work, as well as a risk assessment that is filled out in conjunction with your line manager.  Should there still be concerns regarding work exposure hazards (i.e. lab work, travel for the University), you can self-refer by contacting us directly on occupationalhealth@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Do you offer any training courses?

No, but training courses in various areas, are all contained in the People and Organisational Development intranet content

Can you help with my workstation?

There are trained DSE Assessors locally within departments and teams who can provide support and assistance with the assessment and purchase of equipment when indicated.  For further inforation you can access the University’s comprehensive resource regarding Display Screen Equipment, including details of how to find your local trained assessor.

Can I retire on the grounds of ill health?

If you would like advice regarding this, please contact us directly on occupationalhealth@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Is your service confidential?

All communications with us are in strictest medical confidence. All records are stored in accordance with the Data Protection Acts. 

Is there a wellbeing committee?

Professor Mark Sterling chairs a Wellbeing Advisory Group on campus, please visit the Employee Wellbeing web page for more information on Wellbeing.

We also have an Occupational Health Advisory Group which meets monthly to discuss policies and services that contribute to Workplace Wellbeing which reports into the University's Health & Safety Executive Group. 

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