Occupational Health Assessment

Sickness Absence and Medical Fitness to return to work

What is an occupational health assessment?

The definition for ‘occupational health’ is a medical speciality, which focuses on the interaction of people's health with their work, that is, the effect of work on people's health and the effect of ill health on their work.

An ‘occupational health assessment’ refers to an occupational health physician/nurse review, examination and evaluation of an individual who has been referred by their employer with regard to medical complaints and associated work absence. The employee is referred to the Occupational Health Service via a Referral Form which determines whether an assessment is required or not.

The occupational health physician/nurse will start the assessment by discussing the employee's current role in school and their occupational history. They will then proceed to assess the reason for the employee's referral, the nature of the medical complaints and associated work absence. At the end of the history taking, if it's appropriate the occupational health physician/nurse may do a physical examination.

How does the employer decide if a work assessment is required?

General criteria for referring employees to the occupational health service: Please refer to the Employers Procedures Manual.

  1. Non-discretionary referrals: From 1 January 2014, any teacher/special needs assistant on sick leave who has 4 weeks (28 days) continuous or cumulative sick leave absence in a 12 month rolling period must be referred to the Occupational Health Service.
  2. Discretionary referrals: Employees about whom the employer has concerns relating to their medical fitness for work. The following are examples of where discretionary referrals may occur:                                 
    • Repeated short-term sickness absences
    • Where concerns arise regarding performance of duties as a result of health factors
    • Concern that work related factors may be adversely affecting employees health
    • Alcohol or drug related problems

Who can the employer contact at Medmark4teachersna should they have a query?

Our team of medical experts and our administration and human resource teams are on hand to answer specific queries regarding the occupational health service and how to use it.

Telephone Advice Line
Our telephone advice line, 021-4550455 is open Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm, with an out-of-hours message service also available.

Alternatively you can email us your query to info@medmark4teachersna.ie and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

How can the employer book an Occupational Health Assessment?

  • Once the criteria for referring an employee to the occupational health service is met then the employer makes a decision to refer the employee to the occupational health service. If criteria are not met the occupational health service will explain reasons to employer.
  • The employer can contact the occupational health service on 021-4550455  to ask for advice if needed.
  • The employer should complete the occupational health referral form and submit it online to the occupational health service.
  • A copy of the referral form should be made available to the employee.
  • A member of the Medmark medical team will assess the referral and determine whether an appointment is appropriate or not.
  • Medmark may at this point contact the employee for further information.
  • If appropriate Medmark will then book an appointment with an occupational health physician/nurse in one of our six centres.
  • Medmark will inform the referring school manager of the time, date and venue for the appointment. The referring school manager must then inform the employee of his/her appointment.


Referral forms for Employers


How should the employer complete a work assessment referral form?

  • The employer completes the secure online referral and should complete all sections, answer all questions, include as much background information as possible and ensure that the employee's contact details and the school roll number are included.
  • The system allows the employer to choose and indicate the relevant category of referral. If the employer needs any assistance in completing the referral, they can contact Medmark by e-mail info@medmark4teachersna.ie or on the dedicated helpline 021-4550455 to obtain answers to any queries they may have about the process.
  • Upon submission of the online referral, the employer immediately receives the relevant unique OHS referral number from Medmark by e-mail. This referral number is linked to the DOE payroll
  • Upon submission of the online referral, the employee receives an automated text message from Medmark to advise that a call from Medmark is to be expected and also to provide details of Medmark’s privacy statement in accordance with GDPR rules. 

What is the Case Management process

On receipt of a referral Medmark Ltd will review the case:

  • One of our occupational health nursing team will contact the employee to discuss their medical complaint, current health status and work absence
  • If the likely duration of absence is established and a return to work date is agreed a result will be sent to the employer/school.
  • Medmark Ltd will request the employer to re-refer the employee if the return to work has not taken place as agreed
  • If it is not possible to establish a return to work date the OHS will schedule a review of the employee after an agreed interval
  • If appropriate Medmark Ltd will arrange an appointment with an occupational physician in one of the regional centres. (Medmark Ltd will inform the employer of time/date/venue for appointment and the employee will be advised that a result will be issued to the employer in due course).

If a Physician assessment is appropriate, what format will the assessment process take?

  • Part of the medical assessment, will involve the completion of an occupational health assessment form. The employee arrives for his/her appointment at the designated centre and is given the occupational health assessment form to complete.
  • Following completion of the form the employee will be called to see the occupational health physician who will introduce him/herself, explain his/her role, assure the employee of the confidentiality of the proceedings and answer any questions the employee may have.
  • The occupational health physician will then proceed to carry out the assessment.
  • When the assessment is complete, the occupational health physician will advise the employee that a report will be issued to the employer in due course.
  • The occupational health physician will contact the referring employer with the outcome of the assessment.
  • Disclosure of medical information must be in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine.  Everything that goes on in the assessment is entirely confidential, between the employee and the occupational health physician. The employee can tell the occupational health physician anything they like during this assessment and they may be reassured that nothing will disclosed be to any other party without their consent – with one exception: the occupational health physician is allowed to express an opinion as to whether the employee is fit or unfit for work or any restrictions or modifications that should be placed on their work.

What format will the report take?

The occupational health physician/nurse will write a report to the employer that will include relevant information about the employee’s medical condition, recommendations regarding fitness for work, likely timescale of return to work and any adjustments/restrictions required. This will help the employer to know how to accommodate the employee’ needs in the workplace. The report may also endeavor to answer any specific questions that have been asked by the referring employer.

Note: The report will not detail the nature of the employee’ symptoms or the nature of their condition unless they consent to the contrary.

Who has access to the report?

The occupational health assessment report will be sent directly to the referring employer.

Referral forms for Employers



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