Work health assessments remain a priority during the pandemic to ensure the health, safety and well-being of workers and patients. Employers should continue to follow pre-existing requirements as outlined in the Work Health Assessment Standard.
Working with occupational health departments will be essential to provide proactive support and guidance to staff regardless of whether they are being newly appointed into the NHS for the first time, are being redeployed or are returning to the workforce under the retire/return scheme managed by NHS England and NHS Improvement. This will be even more important when considering reasonable adjustments or the redeployment of staff who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19, such as those with underlying health conditions and/or in at-risk groups. Occupational health screening for infectious diseases e.g. tuberculosis and blood-borne viruses must be carried out before commencing clinical work.
In cases of redeployment, employers are advised to check what information is currently held about them on their personal systems such as ESR or NHS Smart Card, to ensure there is no unnecessary duplication of health and DBS checks and core skill training. Trusts that are currently piloting the temporary COVID-19 digital staff passport should follow guidance on enabling staff movement which is available on the NHS England and NHS Improvement’s website.
Our occupational health pages may be useful to refer to in regard to identifying and mitigating risks for staff, the management of infection controls and additional considerations for supporting people who are considered to be more vulnerable. Further information about immunisation requirements for healthcare workers can be found in The Green Book which can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Guidance on the prevention of infectious diseases can also be found on the NICE website.