NHS England National Primary Care Occupational Health Service Specification
NHSE have produced this specification to standardise the commissioning of occupational health services (OHS) to primary care staff to support accessible, high quality OHS which should be available locally to them. Of course, this being NHSE they also wish to standardise reporting of management information and support cost effective provision at three levels.
Schedule I will provide enhanced occupational health assessment for doctors and dentist on the National Performers’ Lists (NPLs), virology, vaccinations and immunisations (importantly including BCG for TB), urgent and more long term advice on potential exposure to blood borne viruses (BBVs) and a specialist tier to help staff infected with BBVs. All these will be funded by NHSE.
Schedule II will provide screening and clearance of entry to the NPLs and virology, vaccinations and immunisations necessary for applicants. These services will be paid for by the applicants.
Schedule III includes occupational health screening and assessment and virology etc. for health care workers employed by independent primary care contractors as well as occupational health referrals from employers. All this will be paid for by the employers.
The “key deliverables” and quality standards detailed at the end of the document therefore read like an ideal wish list. For instance, OHS outside BBV services (which latter are to be offered 9-5, on weekdays with a recorded helpline out of hours) has an ambitious five day appointment target to see an OH nurse and 10 days to see an OH physician with five days after that for a written report. Experience teaches however that the danger is that the bidders with the best Power Point presentations and the cheapest tenders that will win the contracts and that the experience of the “service users” may well vary from the specification. Leaving cynicism aside for a moment, the document does usefully set out three levels of service schedules. It will be up to the commissioners, aided by the LMC, to make sure the contracts are adhered to.
Dr Barry Moyse
Deputy Medical Director