From whom can an employer obtain a medical report on an employee?

An employer can obtain a medical report from the employee's own GP or consultant, from its own occupational health adviser (if it has one), or from an independent occupational health adviser or medical practitioner. When deciding whom to instruct to provide a report, the employer should consider the purpose of the report and the kind of information that is required.

The employee's own doctor will have a greater knowledge and understanding of the employee's health and medical history, but may not understand the nature of his or her work. Therefore, if the employer needs to know about the employee's medical history for the purpose of investigating frequent short-term absences, it may consider the employee's own doctor to be the most appropriate person to provide a report.

Occupational health practitioners are specialists in assessing the working environment and practices in relation to employees' health. Therefore, employers may consider them to be better placed than an employee's own doctor to advise on potential reasonable adjustments or on the effects of an employee's medical condition in relation to his or her specific role or working environment.

The employer should also consider which adviser is most likely to be able to provide an objective report. For example, the employee's own GP may be wary about providing an opinion that could affect his or her patient's employment.