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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6464
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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I consented to my employer making contact with my doctor(GP),

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I consented to my employer making contact with my doctor(GP), to allow them to ask questions related to my absence.
There was a number of reasons why I am uncomfortable with this, however I consented in order to progress the situation.
I had stipulated that I review any response from the doctor(GP) before it is returned to my employer.
Having reviewed the responses, I asked the doctor to see the questions that were asked as I was concerned at the nature of the questioning, and how the situation was being framed.
As a result of this I have expressed concerns to the doctor as follows:
1- the doctor (GP) doesn't seem to have all relevant information. There should be more information in his possession that was generated by a specialist and forwarded to the GP.
2- the employer sent a second communication to the doctor asking about the status of a condition that is not the reason I am off work. Nor has this been mentioned on any illness certificate that I have presented to the employer from the GP.
Given these concerns, I have told the doctor (in writing) that I am rescinding my authorisation for my medical details to be passed onto my employer.
I have not yet contacted my employer with this information.
My question is:
Can I do this?? ... and/or... is the GP compelled at this stage to answer the questions anyway, given that I signed a piece of paper allowing my employer to make contact.
Thanks for your attention,
Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. By way of background how long have you worked for your employer?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

8... nearly 9 years.

Promoted quickly and qiven a payrise in the months before I took sick leave.

What is the reason for the sickness absence?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Moderate-Severe chronic depression

Ok so that I have all of the information I need to assist you can you tell me if this is your first episode of depressive illness and how long it has lasted?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes - I had no prior indication of this illness before or during my employment.

It had lasted slightly over 2 years. I remained in work for the 1st couple of months after I became unwell. I felt my work was suffering and visited the doctor. I was diagnosed with depression and remained in work with a view to simultaneously managing the condition and working. This was not sustainable and the doctor issued me with a sickness certificate.

Why are you reluctant for the employer to see your medical records in these circumstances?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

- My employer requested the records before (months ago) and I consented. I was then approached by someone who had information that they had no business having. - in short I do not trust the privacy afforded to me by the HR department.

- I am no longer employed by the company and it was never adequately explained to me why it was relevant to this particular situation.

- I know for a fact that the people involved share information that they shouldn't.

.......basically trust issues

Ok if you are no longer employed by them what is your concern about this now?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have lodged an appeal against the decision.

I have filed a grievance against the company/personnel involved because of their actions throughout the process, as I find to to be discriminatory.

It seems that they are asking to contact the GP to show that they are (at least) taking the appeal against the decision to dismiss seriously.

Given the points raised in my initial inquiry, I am concerned that the information is not suitable for distribution to the company.

Is the doctor compelled to provide it?.....or can I say to the company that I am withdrawing my authorisation, for what I perceive to be valid reasons?

I need to understand the circumstances leading to your termination, why were you dismissed in the first place?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I was dismissed following a hearing to determine capability to discharge my duties.

The point in my recovery allowed me to attend a 12-week course specifically designed to get people with depression back to work.

The employer was informed that I would be attending this course in advance of it commencing.

I was called into a meeting with my employer, coinciding with the mid-point of the course I intimated that the course was going well. A week later, before the course finished I was informed by email that my contract had been terminated on the grounds of incapacity.

Did they request information about your health prior to termination or subsequent to it?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I had provided the consent many months ago for them to make contact. They did, but what I consider to be privileged information was passed to person(s) not authorized to have it.

They asked again as part of the capability hearing.

I refused citing the following reasons:

- the previous mis-handling of my private medical file

- the fact that the information would be the same as the information thaey had already received as I had not yet completed my 12-week recovery programme.

I suggested it would be more sensible to request the file upon completion of this programme.

My contract was terminated.

I appealed , during which the company asked again for access to my medical file. I consented as the persons involved with the handling of my previous file would not be involved in the appeal process.

I have since reconsidered this because of the reasons listed in my initial inquiry.

The problem is that if the employer was seeking information required to see whether you are a disabled employee for employment law purposes and you refuse consent they can only make a decision on the basis of the information available to them.
You can therefore refuse access but it may not assist you appeal if you are looking to either be reinstated or bring an unfair dismissal/ discrimination claim.
In the case of the latter you would need to consent to evidence being presented to the Tribunal in any event.
So to answer your original question you can rescind consent and your doctor is obliged to follow your wishes but it may not be in your long term interests, from an employment law point of view, to do so.
If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank-you for the information.

Can I just ask about point-2 in my original inquiry.

Is the employer entitled to send another request for additional information (not related to my diagnosed condition, and not been mentioned on any communication between the doctor and the company.)

What additional information is being requested?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Do I have Parkinson's disease??

....coming from the fact that they know my mother suffers from it.

I was quite insulted by this.

I can understand why this upsets you. Your employer can ask additional information but they should really have asked for your consent first.
You can write to them to ask them why they consider this relevant.
Ultimately though it might be considered that they are just acting in your best interests and need to know the full extent of your medical issues in order to make an informed decision.
If you have any further questions please ask. I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer as I am not otherwise credited for the time I have spent answering your question.
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