Information on Medical Fitness

Why is ‘medical fitness for employment’ an issue?

The reason for addressing the issue of medical fitness for employment centres around the following requirements:
  • To ensure health, safety and well-being of teachers and SNAs.
  • To ensure the health, safety, well-being and educational progress of students.
  • To provide an efficient service, which will facilitate learning for students.
  • To manage any risk to the health of employees which may arise from their duties including ensuring that those duties do not exacerbate pre-existing health problems.
  • To ensure that the health and safety of other employees and support staff is not adversely affected by a colleague being medically unfit.
  • To enable all, including those with disabilities, who wish to pursue a career in teaching or as an SNA to achieve their potential within the bounds of reasonable adjustment.
What are the benefits of carrying out medical fitness assessments?
  • To ensure that the health of teachers and SNAs is being looked after.
  • To manage any sickness absence issues and ensure that teachers are fit to teach and SNAs are fit to carry out their duties in the job that they are employed to do.
  • To correct any issues at work which may be related to the illness of the teacher or SNA.
  • To promote health, safety and well-being of employees in the classroom.
  • To ensure that the health and safety of other employees and support staff is not affected by a colleague’s health condition.
When is assessment of medical fitness necessary?

The need to access medical fitness for employment arises in a number of circumstances. The most common of these are:

  • On appointment as a teacher or SNA.
  • A return to employment following a break of service in excess of 2 years.
  • During and/or following sickness absence.
  • Where health problems become otherwise evident during employment.
  • Where ill health retirement is being considered.

Medical fitness assessment is complemented by health risk assessment and management which may be influenced by individual variables such as health status and pregnancy status.

What criteria are used to measure medical fitness?

To be able to undertake duties safely and effectively, the following are among the more essential criteria in measuring employees' medical fitness:

  • Have the health and well-being necessary to deal with the specific types of employment and associated duties in which they are engaged.
  • From a medical perspective, to be able to communicate effectively with students, parents and colleagues.
  • Possess sound judgement and insight.
  • Remain alert while supervising students and/or working with hazardous materials
  • Can respond to students needs appropriately and effectively.
  • Are medically fit to manage classes or supervise in the absence of a teacher.
  • Do not constitute any risk to the health, safety or well-being of the students who they teach or supervise.
  • Can, where disabilities exist, be enabled by reasonable adjustments to meet all other criteria.

A more detailed criteria may need to be used for specialist posts e.g. Physical Education, Science.

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