This month’s letters

Need for a multidisciplinary approach

I would like to make a comment on your Scotland’s Health at Work (Shaw)
article in the April issue.

I strongly agree with Dorothy Ferguson that there is a need for a review of
the scheme. Shaw’s objective in promoting health in the workplace and the
community at large is a good idea but this is indeed a hobby.

I believe this has also led to a misunderstanding among employers and
employees on the role of the occupational health practitioner in this scheme.
Attention has been focussed on Shaw rather than the real issues in occupational

In order to provide an effective occupational health service, there is need
for a multidisciplinary approach, but Shaw is not a central part of
occupational health.

The issues that Shaw addresses are generalised and not every organisation’s
priority. Organisations could do as well without Shaw if they can source their
in-house occupational health service. It is essential that employers realise
where to put more of their resources in promoting employees’ health at work.

Shaw is good for publicity but what organisations do can be accomplished
just as successful ly with a good OH service.

Occupational health adviser, Aberdeen
(Name and address withheld)

Heed the act or pay the price

I read with interest, and a rising sense of panic, Rachael Heenan’s article
"Call to order" about the Data Protection Act.

It appeared that we would need to seek explicit consent from each patient
for data collection and storage, since the article did not mention any other
section of schedule 3 which would constitute an exemption for occupational
health practice.

Fortunately, schedule 3 section 8 clearly covers an occupational health
department, and for schedule 2, the implicit consent of the patient giving the
information should be sufficient enough.

Ms Heenan’s article points out the awful consequences of failing to heed the

Dr GT Freshwater
Director of occupational health, Shetland Health Board

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