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FishJam

Returning to work - Medical access request

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Hi All. I am returning to work after having some time away. My employer has provided me with a medical access form - for their 3rd party Unum to have access to my medical records. According to my employers policy on employees being sick, employees must allow the company and / or their 3d parties access to medical records upon request. I have been led to believe this for Unum to provide a "faster return to work by working with the employer".

 

While I have no problem in allowing my employer to understand the reasons for being sick, I disagree with their 3rd party requesting access - although this is company policy...

 

I am prepared to allow my employer to understand the reasons why I have been sick however I am not prepared to allow a 3rd party - that works on behalf of my employer - to have access to my medical records. However I am considering allowing the 3rd party access to medical information that is pertinent to my illness only.

 

What I don't understand:

 

  1. Is my employer able to discipline me for not signing the medical access form that allows the 3rd party (Unum) access to my medical records?
  2. Is there legal precedent (or example) where an employee has successfully denied their employer and / or their third parties access to medical access?
  3. Given my willingness to engage with my employer, can anyone please provide advice on how to best proceed?
  4. Should I return to work and find myself sick again, will I benefit from SSP (I've only been off work for 10 weeks)? My employers policy is to reduce SSP by 25% after 8 weeks however I am unclear on whether this means 8 weeks in any one instance of being sick or 8 weeks that the upper limit of full SSP is reached.

Thanks for reading and hopefully I'll see your comments soon.

Edited by FishJam

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i don't really know the legalities surrounding this but perhaps you could request copies of your medical records pertinant to this illness and provide those directly to your employer.

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Hi Fishjam

I dont believe that your or anybodies employer has a right of access to your medical records,they have a right to have you examined by their own doctor only,you say thayt they reduce STATUTORY SICK PAY by 25% after a time!,I think you may find that thats unlawful,you need to check with DSS ,its problems like this is why you should belong to a union,the subs are tiny and the benefits when you have problems are well worth it ,think of it as an insurance poicy being a member.

Wobbly


Living in the wild windy west of Ireland

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This may help

ACCESS TO MEDICAL RECORDS

 

Under the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988, as amended, individuals have the right to gain access to medical records which relate to them and which are provided by doctors for employment purposes. An employer may access the records but they have to obtain the consent of the employee before being able to do so.

 

An employee may refuse permission or may request sight of the medical report before it is released to the employer. Where a request for access is requested the employee must be given 21 days to access the report and make any comments.

 

So if you do give permission for the 3rd party to have your medical records you have the right in law to have these records sent to you BEFORE they go to your employer ( this right must be made clear to you BEFORE you sign anything ) your GP can deny you access to any information that he feels may cause you distress or involves a third party When you get your records you can tell your GP any thing you dont want your empoyer to see he must do this but must also tell your employer that you have done this - for instance if you were of sick due to a bad back you may feel that parts of your records IE Abortion STDs are no business of your employers and can refuse them access

 

My first port of call would be to my GP as he has a duty of care and confidentiality and would have been used to these requests ( after all he could be the one you sue for any breach) also look up the data protection act 1998 which will give you more details

 

Please be advised anyone who is reading this that once your details are on the national health spine your employers will get to see it no matter what the NHS say

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Thanks Wobbly. As I understand it, I am entitled to be paid according to my contract. My contract states that I am entitled to receive SSP for 26 weeks (although I suspect this may be a typo as I understand SSP is 28 weeks) however after 8 weeks SSP is reduced at a rate of 25%. Can you be sure that this clause in my employment contract is unlawful? I ask only because I'm not a lawyer and only able to interpret this according to my understanding of the law - and my employment contract.

 

Madamfluff: Many thanks for your response and for providing me with this information. It is written into my employment contract that I will provide my employer and / or their 3rd party with a copy of my medical record should it be required. My employer deem it necessary to for me to provide this information in order to enable a return to work - although I find this difficult to understand how Unum - an organisation with a dirty past - will facilitate this.

 

@ Andie 303, many thanks..

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SSP cannot be reduced, company sick pay depends on your contract, please read

 

Who can get Statutory Sick Pay

 

If you're working for an employer under a contract of service (even if you've only just started), you're entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if the following apply:

  • you're sick for at least four days in a row (including weekends and bank holidays and days that you do not normally work)
  • you're earning at least £95 a week

If you have more than one job, you may get SSP from each employer.

Please read 'SSP - eligibility and what days you will be paid for' for more information.

 


Regards

 

LilyLou

 

 

 

 

 

If I have been helpful please tip my scales

 

Any advice/comments I give are based solely on personal experience, if in doubt please consult an expert.

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What I don't understand:

  1. Is my employer able to discipline me for not signing the medical access form that allows the 3rd party (Unum) access to my medical records?
  2. Is there legal precedent (or example) where an employee has successfully denied their employer and / or their third parties access to medical access?
  3. Given my willingness to engage with my employer, can anyone please provide advice on how to best proceed?
  4. Should I return to work and find myself sick again, will I benefit from SSP (I've only been off work for 10 weeks)? My employers policy is to reduce SSP by 25% after 8 weeks however I am unclear on whether this means 8 weeks in any one instance of being sick or 8 weeks that the upper limit of full SSP is reached.

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I guess I would be breaching my employment contract if I didn't provide the medical records upon request?

 

I dont think so - check with ACAS as a matter of urgency

 

I believe that any contract of employment asking to see medical records must show your rights under the data protection act 1998 by law

And the law of the land must supercede any contract of employment

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What I don't understand:

  1. Is my employer able to discipline me for not signing the medical access form that allows the 3rd party (Unum) access to my medical records?
  2. Is there legal precedent (or example) where an employee has successfully denied their employer and / or their third parties access to medical access?
  3. Given my willingness to engage with my employer, can anyone please provide advice on how to best proceed?
  4. Should I return to work and find myself sick again, will I benefit from SSP (I've only been off work for 10 weeks)? My employers policy is to reduce discretionary by 25% after 8 weeks however I am unclear on whether this means 8 weeks in any one instance of being sick or 8 weeks that the upper limit of full discretionary sick pay is reached.

Note: apologies to those who I have confused over the issue of SSP. I have meant Discretionary sick pay.

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What I don't understand:

  1. Is my employer able to discipline me for not signing the medical access form that allows the 3rd party (Unum) access to my medical records? No
  2. Is there legal precedent (or example) where an employee has successfully denied their employer and / or their third parties access to medical access? There is no legal precedent (as that arises from actual cases before a Court) as the right not to release your records to your employer is enshrined in law.
  3. Given my willingness to engage with my employer, can anyone please provide advice on how to best proceed? Simply inform them, in writing, that you do not give your permission for them to have access to your medical records.
  4. Should I return to work and find myself sick again, will I benefit from SSP (I've only been off work for 10 weeks)? Yes My employers policy is to reduce discretionary by 25% after 8 weeks however I am unclear on whether this means 8 weeks in any one instance of being sick or 8 weeks that the upper limit of full discretionary sick pay is reached. This question can only be resolved by looking at your contract

Note: apologies to those who I have confused over the issue of SSP. I have meant Discretionary sick pay.

 

Hope that helps

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