Introduction to this document

Letter requesting attendance at a medical examination and medical examination consent form

As an alternative to requesting a medical report from an employee's own GP or consultant, there is the option of the employee undergoing a medical examination by an independent doctor that you've appointed.  You will still need the employee's consent, so you should write to them enclosing a form for them to sign under which they agree to attend a medical examination.

Pros and cons

As an alternative to requesting a medical report from an employee's own GP or consultant, a doctor you appoint may examine the employee and produce an independent medical report, but only with the employee's consent (to avoid breaching their right to privacy or the commission of a civil trespass or criminal assault). The downside is that the appointed doctor will not have access to the employee's medical history, but the advantages are: (a) the provisions of the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988 do not apply where the doctor preparing the medical report is not, or has not been, responsible for the employee's clinical care, (b) the doctor will be independent, and (c) you can appoint an occupational health specialist with expertise in health at work matters.

Contractual clause

Many contracts of employment contain a medical examinations clause permitting you to require the employee to undergo a medical examination by a company-nominated medical practitioner and then to agree to a medical report being prepared setting out the results of that examination. Our Letter Requesting Attendance at a Medical Examination is drafted on the basis of there being a contractual clause. However, you still can't force an employee to be examined by a doctor, but if they refuse without good reason and you do have such a clause, they will be in breach of contract, enabling you to take disciplinary action for that breach. Without a clause, you can still ask an employee to undergo a medical examination but your position will be weaker because you can't do much if they refuse. In this scenario, you will need to adapt the wording of our letter accordingly.

Future employment

If your employee refuses to consent to a medical examination/report, whether with or without a contractual clause, you will be entitled to base any subsequent decision on the future of their employment on the relevant facts available, without the benefit of expert medical evidence.

Data protection

We’ve made clear that the consent request here doesn’t constitute a request for the employee’s consent to your processing personal data concerning their health under the UK GDPR. Make sure that you have an additional lawful condition for processing such special category personal data (as well as having a lawful basis for processing), e.g. the processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out your obligations or exercising your rights under employment law. It must also be in accordance with an appropriate policy document you have in place, which explains both your procedures for securing compliance with the UK GDPR data protection principles in connection with the processing of such special category personal data and your policies as regards the retention and erasure of such personal data. Make sure your processing is also in accordance with your privacy notice for staff. Although your privacy notice will set out how and why personal data will be processed throughout the employment lifecycle, it’s still advisable to provide privacy information on particular occasions, at the point the personal data is collected, so we’ve covered the purposes of the medical report and the lawful bases for processing it in our letter.