Why choose SEQOHS accredited services


SEQOHS accredited occupational health (OH) services have demonstrated they have met the required standards. 

SEQOHS accreditation provides independent and impartial recognition that the OH service has objectively demonstrated their competence.

Following the initial award of accreditation, accredited services are required to demonstrate they have maintained the standards at their service on an annual basis by completing an annual renewal assessment.

What is an Occupational Health (OH) service?

Health and safety legislation in the UK places a statutory duty on employers to keep their employees healthy and safe whilst in work, and in particular to manage risks in the workplace that are likely to give rise to work-related ill health.

In order to support employers with this duty and to identify the onset of or preferably prevent work-related ill health, suitably qualified and competent personnel are commissioned; the services of which are widely known as occupational health.

Occupational health services can extend to anything that relates to the interaction of health and work; how work can affect health and vice versa, and simply keeping people healthy and well during work, both physically and mentally. 

Many disciplines can contribute towards this, including but not limited to doctors and nurses with a qualification in OH, OH physiotherapists and specialists in psychological wellbeing, i.e. psychologists, counselling services / Employee Assistance programmes (EAP’s).

They are often also supported by other specialists, such as occupational hygienists, who can identify and advise upon the control of chemical, physical and biological agents arising from workplace activity.

Occupational health services can be delivered in various ways, subject to the size of the organisation, the workplace activities and associated hazards identified. This includes, but is not limited, to the following:

Management referrals; sickness absence – long or frequent short term, medical suitability for role, need for adjustments etc.
Pre-placement health screening / fitness for task / assessment of required adjustment.
Health surveillance (HS) / assessments:
             o Noise - audiometry
             o Vibration –HAVs (hand arm vibration syndrome)
             o Respiratory - spirometry
             o Confined spaces medical
             o Manual handling
             o Working at height
             o Driver medical
             o Safety critical worker
Pre-placement health assessment / Baseline Heath Surveillance (HS)
Statutory Medicals, lead, ionizing radiation etc.
Night worker health screening 
Health promotion wellness activities
Ill health retirement (IHR) Medicals
Treatment / vaccination service

Why SEQOHS?

The SEQOHS standards have been set by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) following extensive consultation, they are reviewed 5yearly incorporating any legislative changes, ethical considerations and evidenced based best practice guidelines.

SEQOHS accreditation provides independent and impartial recognition that the service provider, having been independently assessed against the SEQOHS standards, has objectively demonstrated their competence.

It represents a quality mark demonstrating that accredited OH services provide a safe, effective, quality OH service.

Following the initial award of accreditation, accredited services are required to demonstrate they have maintained the standards at their service on an annual basis by completing an annual renewal assessment.

Background:

Early in 2007 the Secretaries of State for Health and for Work and Pensions commissioned the National Director for Health and Work, Dame Carol Black, to undertake a review of the health of Britain’s working age population.

In 2008 Dame Carol Black published her Working for a Healthier Tomorrow review of workplace health. This identified the myriad of health barriers that people experienced in getting into and staying in the workforce, as well as some of the challenge’s organisations faced in creating healthy workplaces and practices.

In her foreword to the review, Dame Carol noted that occupational health had been largely restricted to helping those in employment, but supporting good health for everybody of working age required OH to reach much further. She recommended that OH “must also be concerned with helping people who have not yet found work, or have become workless, to enter or return to work”.

The Government's Response to Dame Carol Black's Review ‘Improving health and work: changing lives’ was published in November 2008 and stated ‘An integrated approach to working age health should be underpinned by clear standards of practice and formal accreditation for all providers’

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) responded and subsequently produced a set of standards which formed the basis for a system of voluntary accreditation. 

The following is an overview of the SEQOHS Standards and accreditation scheme and how they came to exist in their current form:

The standards were reviewed in 2015 and as of January 2020, there are 190 accredited OH services.

The standards will continue to be reviewed at regular intervals.

As a purchaser of OH Services, what should I look for?

In order to achieve SEQOHS accreditation, an OH service needs to demonstrate they deal fairly and ethically with purchasers, as well as being customer focused in its relationships with purchasers. 

As part of that they would be expected to communicate any fee structure in a clear and user-friendly way.

They should seek to understand your specific OH needs and ensure ongoing familiarity with any occupational risks and hazards within the workplace.

A service level agreement (SLA), which is a contract between a service provider (either internal or external) and the end user that defines the level of service expected from the service provider, should be put in place.

It should detail what services will be provided, and perhaps any that will not. It should include what resources are required and any Business continuity plans, as relevant, in order to protect the service delivery.

Additionally, the following should be clearly included in any agreement:

The process for referral to the OH service.
The process for reporting any identified RIDDOR reportable disease, i.e. clearly stating the report is the responsibility of the Employer.
How your intellectual property would be protected, i.e. if any information was shared in order to deliver the OH service.
Information regarding the OH records, i.e. ownership, storage, transfer at end of contract etc.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) so you know what to expect in the form of management information reports, timeframes for appointments, report turnaround etc.

Other things you would consider might include geographical spread, i.e. do you need an OH service that can deliver to multiple locations? Do they outsource any aspects of the service or use 3rd party clinicians? This is also reviewed as part of SEQOHS accreditation.

If you just have an ad hoc requirement and do not want to enter in to a full agreement, the OH service should still be very transparent regarding the fees, responsibilities and timeframes, hence they may provide Business terms rather than an SLA.

What KPI’s should I expect?

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. These can be agreed as part of the contract negotiation between the customer and the OH service. 

The FOM also owns the only National Benchmarking tool for OH Services that supports local audit (MoHaWK – Management of Health and Work Knowledge System).  This tool allows OH services to measure their own performance against national quality indicators. Some of these indicators are related to clinical practice but some are related to business experience (e.g. time frames for appointments, time frames to receive reports as well as manager and worker experience of the services received).  OH services do not have to use MoHaWK to undertake this activity and some SEQOHS accredited services do have other methods for collecting and demonstrating this requirement, although they cannot benchmark their performance against others.  In addition, MoHaWK provides audit tools for some occupational health activity and is constantly expanding its portfolio in this area.

OH services have the ability to input their performance into MoHaWK on a 6 monthly basis which allows for areas of improvement to be considered in-between the ‘rounds’ and again the performance can be measured following any actions that have taken place. 

What should an OH report look like?
Firstly, it is important that you are clear what you want from any referral made to an OH service i.e. what specific questions you would like them to answer, and pose them within the referral documentation.

You will need to seek agreement from the individual you are referring and ensure they understand the reason for referral and the process; the OH service should also provide sufficient information for the employee, i.e. about consent, privacy and access rights, etc.

The report itself should be impartial and respond to each of your questions, and also include, where relevant:

The work relatedness of any absence or condition, and where it is work related, whether others may be affected
How the health condition is affecting the individual
How this may impact on their work role?
Which tasks they can manage with their health condition
What job tasks are difficult because of it
Whether there any safety critical aspects which may be affected, i.e. from physical restraints, effects of medication etc.

What should I expect from other OH services, i.e. Health Surveillance:
Firstly, it is important that the OH service understands the requirements of health surveillance, they may enquire as to the hierarchy of controls, i.e. whether you have considered removing any hazards to health or controlling the risk, and whether personal protective equipment (PPE) is being used.

They should be clear what checks are to be included, the fees, the processes if any health problems are identified, whether any onward referral for further opinion is required, and if so what additional charges may apply, what reports will be provided back to you.

It should be clearly agreed what information they will provide you with, both on an individual basis and any trend data. In other words, you need to know if any individual has been affected by work, and if so, what additional control measures may be required. The anonymised group data, which refers back to previous surveillance, provides you with information about the existing control measures and whether they are effective.

Further detailed information can be found on the HSE website:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/index.htm

SEQOHS accreditation will have ensured the OHS have suitable processes in place to ensure the competency of the staff to undertake the checks, interpret the results, and that they have sufficient, suitably calibrated and maintained equipment.

Accredited OH Services

The full list of accredited OH services can be found on this website, you will note if you click on the corresponding certificate date, the certificate of accreditation will be downloaded.

The certificate shows the date of accreditation, and is valid for 5 years. It also shows the schedule of accreditation and which standards the OH service was assessed against.



180 accredited services

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139 services working towards accreditation

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