I spent the day working in the Occupational Health Department at Littlemore. Before spending time with the team my view and experience of the service was limited. Naively, I thought Occupational Health dealt with flu vaccinations and supporting people with work related stress. I’m pleased to say that after just one day with the team I have a lot more insight into the wide variety of services they provide and the support they offer.
Cathy, Jane, Pat and Rosie gave me a crash course in their roles keeping the department running. This covered everything from triaging referrals right through to contract management and invoicing. I was surprised and impressed to find out that the department holds a number of contracts to provide Occupational Health support to other organisations. This is an important income generation stream and also provides assurance about how well the service operates.
My eyes were opened when the team explained to me the different areas they support. This ranged from needle stick injuries and vaccinations, to workplace assessments and physical and mental health support. The range of conditions and issues people presented with was vast. The medical staff were meeting people throughout the day, either for first assessments or follow up appointments and the office was constantly busy.
Some staff from other organisations (not Oxford Health NHS FT) were kind enough to allow me to sit in on their appointments. I am not able to disclose information from these sessions but I can say they were very diverse and at times quite emotional. All of the staff in the team, medical and clerical, have to be very resiliant in dealing with the types of cases that can be referred.
From just one day in the team I was able to identify some areas that cause frustrations. I would like to make a plea to managers referring staff to Occupational Health to complete the forms correctly and enter all the required information. If staff need an assessment and advice from Occupational Health it is important the team have the correct contact details for the staff member and enough information to be able to offer the appropriate course of action. This will help everyone invovled to have a prompt and supportive experience.
The other area that was highlighted as an issue is the number of DNAs (Did Not Attend). When staff make appointments and don’t show up or let the team know they need to change it, there are a number of impacts. Not only does this cost the Trust in terms of wasted resource but it impacts on others who have been waiting for an appointment.
I was impressed with the positivity and motivation within the team. They are always talking about new ideas to improve the service and Roz has created an environment where staff feel comfortable to share and empowered to take decisions. Every team member I spoke to was passionate about their role and clear about the importance of an effective Occupational Health service. I would like to thank the team for being so welcoming and honest with me. I hope I might be invited back to spend some more time in the department.
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of specialist mental health services in five different localities as well as physical healthcare to patients in Oxfordshire.
4000 John Smith Drive
Oxford Business Park South
Oxford OX4 2GX
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