Why have I been asked to attend the CMO’s office?

All cases of absence from work due to sick leave are now automatically referred by HR to the CMO’s Office/CSOHD after a maximum of 4 weeks duration. This is a requirement of the sick pay scheme. The purpose of the referral is to assist workplace rehabilitation, or to advise on the medical aspects of individuals experiencing difficulties with regular attendance at work.  This is in keeping with international best practice. Applicants for ill health retirement attend for assessment of permanent medical incapacity for their current occupation. Attendees also include employees requiring preventative workplace health surveillance (e.g. hearing tests) immunisations (e.g. Hepatitis B immunisation).

What if I cannot attend my consultation?

Employees who are unwell or cannot attend for any reason should contact their personnel section / NSSO as soon as possible i.e. the person who sent out the appointment. Please do not contact the CMO’s Office / CSOHD directly. Should you choose not to avail of the opportunity of an occupational health assessment, your employer may have to make decisions without occupational health advice.

What if I already have a date to resume work as advised by my doctor?

Employees who have already returned to work or have arranged a return to work date within the next week should also contact NSSO/ personnel. They can then advise the CMO/CSOHD as to whether an appointment is still required.

What should I bring to the consultation?

If you are on multiple medications, can you please either bring them along or else write a list of their names, strength and dose. It would also be helpful if you bring along contact details for your GP or hospital doctor. We see individuals unaccompanied, in order to facilitate an open diaglogue between our clinical staff and the employee to be held in confidence. If you have a mobility problem, you can contact us in advance and we will do out best to facilitate you. Please try not to bring children along as our waiting area space is quite limited.

What happens when I arrive at the CMO’s office?

When you arrive at entrance to the building on 90 North King Street, please press on the intercom located at the entrance to the building. The building reception staff will check your name against the register of expected visitors. The building reception is open between 9.00am – 1:00pm and 2:00pm – 5:00pm. While in the ground floor reception area, you will be asked to sign in and you will be given a visitor badge. The reception staff will direct you to the appropriate lift which will take you to the 5th floor of the building where the CMO’s Office is located. When you exit the lift on the 5th floor, please proceed to the waiting room which is sign posted. Please press the bell at the reception desk to speak to one of our administrative staff members to inform them that you have arrived. The doctor or nurse will call to the waiting room to greet you.

What do I do with the consent form?

A copy of the consent form will be enclosed with the leaflet provided to you by your HR department. Can you please complete the consent form and give it to the doctor / nurse at the start of your consultation. If you have any queries or concerns relating to the consent form, please feel free to discuss this with the doctor/ nurse at the start of the consultation. This consent form allows us to conduct the consultation, to issue advice to your department on the outcome of the interview which usually involves a comment on your fitness for work. The consent also allows for the doctor or nurse to contact your treating doctor confidentially to discuss your health issues.

How is the consultation conducted?

Allow up to 1 hour for the consultation. The doctor or nurse will take a medical, social and occupational history. A physical examination is conducted if necessary. This is an opportunity for you to discuss your health in relation to your work. You have an important contribution to make to your assessment and we strive to give medical advice based on best occupational health practices. Following the appointment, written advice is forwarded to your personnel section. This generally includes our opinion on your fitness for work, whether treatment is fully optimised, a likely timescale for a return to work, and any temporary work modifications which may be helpful for a successful return to work. Please note that we do not have a management role in relation to interpersonal issues in the workplace, or in decisions regarding transfers.

Will the consultation notes and my medical details be kept confidential?

Medical details are strictly confidential.  Any information not already disclosed will not be discussed with your employer without your permission. The standards of confidentiality that apply are the same that apply in a hospital or GP Practice. Medical records can only be released to any third party at the request in writing of the employee, or in exceptional circumstances, as part of a legal or ethical requirement. On occasion, medical reports may be confidentially forwarded to another health professional if an outside referral is requested such as in the case of an appeal of ill health retirements advice given by the CMO’s Office. Your occupational health file is stored securely in our department in paper / electronic form and can be accessed by you on request. and is not shared with any other individuals outside the department.

Why have I been asked to ask my doctor for a medical report?

A medical report or copies of specialist reports are requested from your doctor to outline your medical diagnosis, treatment and progress.  You can decline this request, but we can only give medical advice based on the information available to us. If a medical report is requested from your regular treating doctor/specialist(s), it should details your full name, date of birth and employing department. Alternatively, we may ask your permission to confidentially contact your doctor to discuss your case. Please note that the responsibility for any payment for medical reports rests with the employee.

What about accessing my personal information or complaints following my consultation?

A copy of our medical advice to personnel can be obtained from your employer. They do not need to seek our permission to release this and our advice is freely available to you. Please request this from them directly. If you wish to see your CMO medical records, you can request this under GDPR / data access by writing to us or emailing us. Can you please specify what part of your record you wish to obtain, and provide your full name, address and mobile phone number in case we need to contact you. All relevant legislation relating to GDPR / Data Protection will be complied with.

The address for making a data access request is Civil Service Occupational Health Department, 90 North King St, Smithfield, Dublin 7. Our email address (for data access only) is dataccess@cmo.gov.ie. In certain circumstances we may require you to provide additional evidence of identify.

Please note that we are the Civil Service Occupational Health Department. The Department of Health Chief Medical Officer and the HSE Chief Medical Officer are not contactable at this email.

Any queries following an appointment / receiving a copy of our advice should be addressed to HR. If you wish to make a formal complaint, please advise us of this in writing only. We will then send you a copy of our complaints procedure and our complaints form. Our address is Civil Service Occupational Health Department, 90 North King St, Smithfield, Dublin 7.