Mental effort

Download Full Handbook Download This Section

This factor measures the nature, level, frequency and duration of the mental effort required for the job (for example concentration, responding to unpredictable work patterns, interruptions and the need to meet deadlines).

Level 1:         General awareness and sensory attention; normal care and attention; an occasional requirement for concentration where the work pattern is predictable with few competing demands for attention.
Level 2: (a) There is a frequent requirement for concentration where the work pattern is predictable with few competing demands for attention, or
(b) there is an occasional requirement for concentration where the work pattern is unpredictable.
Level 3:     (a) There is a frequent requirement for concentration where the work pattern is unpredictable, or
(b) there is an occasional requirement for prolonged concentration.
Level 4:     (a) There is a frequent requirement for prolonged concentration, or
(b) there is an occasional requirement for intense concentration
Level 5:     There is a frequent requirement for intense concentration.

Definitions and notes: 

General awareness and sensory attention (level 1) is the level required for carrying out day-to-day activities where there is a general requirement for care, attention and alertness but no specific requirement for concentration on complex or intricate matters.

Concentration (levels 2 to 4) is where the jobholder needs to be particularly alert for cumulative periods of one to two hours at a time for example when checking detailed documents; carrying out complex calculations or analysing detailed statistics; active participation in formal hearings; operating machinery; driving a vehicle; taking detailed minutes of meetings; carrying out screening tests/microscope work; examining or assessing patients/clients.

Normal concentration for example seeing patients, writing reports, attending meetings and all other such activities which are interrupted by phone calls should be level 2.

Unpredictable (levels 2b and 3a) is where the jobholder is required to change from one activity to another at third party request. Dealing with frequent interruptions (as in telephone or reception work) is not unpredictable unless they frequently cause the post holder to change from what they are doing to another activity (eg responding to emergency bleep, or changing from one accounting task to another in response to requests for specific information). These levels are appropriate for jobs where the jobholder has no prior knowledge of an impending interruption but has to immediately change planned activities in response to one.

Prolonged concentration (levels 3b and 4a) refers to a requirement to concentrate continuously for more than half a shift, on average, excluding statutory breaks. This is appropriate where the jobholder undertakes few duties other than concentrating on a detailed, intricate and important sample/slide/document, for example cytology screening, clinical coding.

Intense concentration (levels 4b and 5). Requires in-depth mental attention, combined with proactive engagement with the subject e.g.¬ carrying out intricate clinical interventions; undergoing cross examination in court, where the jobholder not only has to apply sustained concentration to the subject matter, but also has to respond/actively participate, as in clinical psychology or speech and language therapy. This is greater than a requirement to observe and/or record the reactions of a patient/client or other person.

Occasional fewer than half the shifts worked; a shift being a period of work. There will be activities which are carried out very occasionally for once in six months, which should not be counted under this factor.

Frequent occurs on half the shifts worked or more; a shift being a period of work.

Latest Tweets

Latest Blog Post

Stay curious and open - key messages from ODN Europe

17 / 7 / 2019 12.48pm

OD practitioner Ruth Ball shares her experiences from the ODN Europe conference.

Why Register?

Sounds great, what next?

Not now, I will register later

Log In