Welcome and introduction


Aims and purpose of the OH consultation

Dr Nerys Williams, independent OH physician

  • Moving the case forward
  • Key questions – and getting meaningful answers
    • Disability
    • Long-term absence
    • Health and capability
    • Pre-employment/pre-placement
  • Taking a relevant history
  • Timescales and follow-up

Before the consultation

Dr Clare Fernandes, chief medical officer

  • Management referral
    • Use of pro-formas
    • Educating managers
    • Dealing with inadequate referrals
  • What the employee needs to know before the consultation
    • Invitation letters
    • Information about the OH service
    • OH helpline for those worried about their referral
    • Establishing consent
  • Triage: when is an occupational physician needed?
  • Ensuring privacy in remote consultations
  • Accompanying persons and chaperones
  • Recording consultations (by the employee and/or OH professional)
  • Safety concerns (for the safety of the OH professional)
  • Safeguarding issues



OH consultation and the law

Prof Diana Kloss, barrister

  • Consent and confidentiality
    • General principles
    • Consent in remote consultations
    • Written or oral consent
    • Workers with learning disabilities
  • Duty of care (pre-employment/applicants v employees)
  • Disclosure (e.g. of ‘unfit for work’) without consent in the public interest
  • Access to Medical Reports Act 1988
  • Accompanied consultations and chaperones – legal issues
  • Safeguarding duties
  • Q&A

Consultation methods

Sharon Wilday, consultant cognitive behavioural psychotherapist

  • Face-to-face
    • Visual cues
    • Advantages and disadvantages
  • Telephone and video platforms
    • Establishing a rapport
    • Technological considerations
    • Are they always appropriate?
  • Your appearance and behaviour
  • Managing referrals where the individual is anxious or angry
  • Motivational interviewing and coaching techniques



Consultation skills and how to develop them

Carolyn Graham, consultant

  • Listening skills
  • Questioning skills
  • Note-taking (without affecting the flow of the consultation)
  • Resetting the consultation if things go wrong
  • Dealing with objections from the employee



Consultations in practice
Sharon Wilday and Carolyn Graham (Chair: Dr Nerys Williams)

  • A practical workshop based on a common mental health problem

Quality improvement

Dr Nerys Williams, independent OH physician

  • Dos and don’ts
  • Common issues that managers have with OH reports following the consultation – and how to avoid these
  • Auditing and peer-reviewing your consultations

Final questions and closing remarks


End of day

Benefits of attending

This training day aims to teach you to:

  • Understand the aims of the OH consultation in terms of moving the case forward
  • Set up and prepare for effective OH consultations, and understand how to audit and improve these
  • Know your legal responsibilities – and the nuances of the unique role of the OH professional – in fulfilling your obligations to both the employee and the employer
  • Get the most of your OH consultations whether face to face, telephone or video/online

The day concentrates on the communication and interpersonal skills that are required for effective OH consultations but are so seldom taught. These include how to:

  • Establish a rapport with the employee, using a non-judgemental style and clear language
  • Gather information using open questions – and phrase questions to get informative answers
  • Use and interpret non-verbal communication cues
  • Develop your listening skills
  • Lead the conversation, using techniques such as motivational interviewing and coaching
  • Manage difficult referrals where the individual is anxious or angry
  • Put it all into practice – our case study shows how the communication skills learnt on the course can improve the outcome of cases for the employee and the employer


This training is designed for:

  • OH professionals • Other professionally registered practitioners working in OH

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