Medical practitioners are often caught between a patient who is reluctant to provide their employer with personal health information and an employer who is requesting more detailed health information.
This article outlines the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers with regards to the provision of personal health information within employment, and how medical practitioners can assist in advocating for their patient. Topics covered include legal requirements for medical certificates; when certificates can be questioned by an employer; and whether employers can request additional health information from a general practitioner (GP) or independent specialist.
In many cases, employers have the right to seek further health information from their employees (eg for health and safety obligations), and employees can face disciplinary action and even dismissal if they are uncooperative. As GPs are necessarily involved in the pro-vision of this information, it is important that they have a general understanding of employment law as it relates to the provision of a patient’s personal health information to employers.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 2017