Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for Return to Work for People with Long-COVID

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine has published this timely guidance, developed under the leadership of their new Academic Dean, Dr Ira Madan.

A FOM multidisciplinary group developed this guidance aimed at all healthcare professionals to assist them in facilitating the return to work of people who are unable to work due to long-COVID.  The guidance was developed alongside the NICE/RCGP/SIGN COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing the long-term effects of COVID-19, published on 18th December 2020.

The FOM guidance is intended to complement and supplement the NICE guideline. It has deliberately not duplicated guidance on the management of the long-term effects of COVID-19 but have focussed on functional impairment which may lead to obstacles to RTW. Where the multi-disciplinary group were unable to find evidence for their guidance in the peer-reviewed literature, they based their advice on general occupational health principles.

Visit the FOM website for more information.


Occupational Health clearance specification for existing NHS workforce and new staff recruited to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine have published a document on the ethical considerations of coronavirus risk assessment and health scoring systems.

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine and Society of Occupational Medicine have produced Risk Assessment Guidance for OH Services to protect OH staff and service users where face-to-face services are being delivered.

The Health & Safety Executive issued further guidance to appointed doctors on health and medical surveillance on 5 June.

Implications for Occupational Health Practice in Relation to Testing for Covid-19

This issue was discussed at the June meeting of the Faculty’s Ethics Committee as many concerns and queries continue to be addressed to the FOM from employers, HR specialists, health care practitioners and OH providers. This update follows the Faculty’s earlier guidance documents.

As attention turns to staff antibody testing, we have received some really helpful examples from our Nework members who are happy to share what they are doing in their own Trust.

Our Members at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust have recommended colleagues check the website has some useful information as in this link:

Thank you to our Members at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust for sharing their Antibody Test Information Sheet.

Our colleagues at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s have shared their Staff Antibody Testing Information Pack.

Our Members at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust provided an example of the Test Report and Information Sheet for staff.

Our colleagues at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust provided their Information Sheet and Consent Form.

Our colleagues at University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust shared their Employee Information and Consent sheet.

Our Members at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust included all the frequently asked questions in an information sheet for staff and consent form. 


The Society of Occupational Medicine, supported by Business in the Community, MIND, ACAS, and the CIPD have published a toolkit for returning to the workplace after the Covid lockdown.  Alongside this they have produced a Covid-19 guide for health professionals advising patients and employers. 

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine has produced some guidance for non-NHS occupational health providers regarding their own service delivery priorities.

From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a focus on trying to identify those who might be at greatest risk of infection or adverse outcomes, including recent concerns about deaths amongst healthcare workers from a black and minority ethnic background.

Dr. Anne de Bono, Consultant Occupational Physician in the NHS at Leicester and President of FOM was included in an expert working group led by Prof Kamlesh Khunti to consider a Risk Reduction Framework for NHS staff at risk of COVID-19 infection.

This is a consensus document resulting from robust discussion amongst a wide range of experts in this field, aiming to better protect our workforce and maximise the ability of the NHS to deal with current pressures. Implementation would require significant support to assist with planning and provision of occupational health assessments. The document does not represent the individual viewpoint of any of the members of the group – it is a consensus, reflecting differing perspectives on a very complex situation. Trusts will need specialist occupational health support and advice to apply the guidance fairly. This is the first attempt to create such a Risk Reduction Framework with currently available evidence and the Framework will be reviewed and updated in light of any new evidence. It is however important to acknowledge that this area is continuously evolving and this framework provides a baseline but remains fluid.

Occupational health and staff deployment is a FOM guidance note which outlines the role and remit of OH services in the current situation. It has been produced in collobaration with senior colleagues and particularly consultants in occupational medicine in the NHS, and members of the NHS Health at Work Network and the Society of Occupational Medicine.  This version dated 29.04.2020 replaces all previous versions.

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine have published a document entitled Occupational Health (non-NHS) Workload Prioritisation.  This document may be useful for NHS Trusts who are involved in delivering OH to other organisations outside of the NHS.

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine are providing regular, informative and helpful updates.  Check out their latest update here

FOM’s latest guidance adds to the information sheet, TESTING, TESTING, TESTING issued on 03.04.2020 which can be accessed here. The principal author, Chair of FOM’s Ethics committee, Dr Steve Boorman CBE, has confirmed the principles which should underlie all testing and health surveillance, and has also given specific consideration to issues of consent and confidentiality in relation to testing for SARS-CoV-2 during the pandemic.

Public Health England updated their suite of documents on 05.04.2020.  These can be seen here.  This includes their guidance on Occupational Health and Staff Deployment.

HSE has issued details of when and how you should report coronavirus incidents under RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).  They have also provided an additional clarification statement here.

The Association of Local Authority Medical Advisers (ALAMA) website has an extensive and developing range of guidance available for occupational health professionals to support them in managing the Covid-19 risk amongst staff groups and taking into account a range of health conditions.  

Expert Working Group concludes there is currently insufficient evidence to establish a link between use of ibuprofen and susceptibility to contracting COVID-19 or the worsening of its symptoms.


Healthcare staff with underlying health conditions: implications and adjustments 

The Faculty is grateful for the collaboration and contributions from senior colleagues, particularly consultants in occupational medicine in the NHS, including members of the NHS Health at Work Network, and our colleagues at the Royal College of Physicians which has made this guidance possible. 

The FOM have issued a Risk Assessment Template, to help guide managers and OH teams in making decisions about the deployment of staff who have undlerying health conditions.

The Royal College of Physicians have produced Ethical Dimensions of Covid-19 for Front Line Staff (Page 6 is of particular note for OH teams).

Public Health England have issued revised guidance concerning the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by health and social care workers, in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The NHS Health at Work Network is happy to support the NHS England and NHS Improvement's standard Occupational Health Assessment Form for returning staff to help tackle Covid-19.

We have developed our Covid-19 Top Tips For NHS OH Managers thanks to feedback from our Network OH teams.

Hand and Face Care during COVID-19 pandemic.  This brings to your attention information from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust produced by Dr Ira Madan, known for her research on occupational dermatitis in healthcare staff, and consultant dermatologist Dr Ian White.

There is no copyright and you may wish to use this pdf on information sites, posters or emails to staff in your organisations.

The British Association of Dermatologists have updated their advice for PPE-related skin reaction management.