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Members Newsletter September 2019

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Access to Medical Reports Act 1998

There are a number of reasons why an employer may wish to obtain a medical report on an employee.

These reasons include:

  • to determine whether or not the employee is able to carry out their day to day job role within the Company;
  • to assess whether or not the employee is disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 and if so, to determine what reasonable adjustments are required;
  • to assist in managing an employee’s long-term absence or persistent intermittent absences from work by determining when an employee can be expected to return to work or to provide an explanation of their absences.

The Access to Medical Reports Act 1988 (“AMRA 1998”) gives an individual the right to a medical report relating to their physical or medical health by a medical practitioner. Where the employer is seeking a medical report on an employee from a medical practitioner who has been responsible for the individual’s clinical care then they must comply with the provisions set out in AMRA 1998. Failure to do so could result in a claim against them for example constructive dismissal and/or disability discrimination.

The employer must:

  • inform the employee of their statutory rights under the AMRA 1988;
  • obtain the employee’s written consent to the examination and preparation of the report;
  • give the employee the opportunity to see the report before it is sent to the employer;
  • give the employee the opportunity to request changes to the report; and
  • give the employee the opportunity to refuse to allow the report to be disclosed to the employer

The AMRA 1998 will not apply if an employer chooses to instruct a medical practitioner (for example a company doctor, occupational health adviser or specialist) to prepare a medical report on an employee who they have not treated before.   Nevertheless, it is likely to be good practice to comply with the Act’s requirements.  However, there may be situations where the position is unclear for example, the report is being prepared by a company doctor who has treated the employee for something else in the past.

Should you require assistance with requesting a medical report on an employee, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 837 6807 or email us on [email protected].

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