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Alert COVID-19

Please find service updates and current visiting rules in our COVID-19 section.

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Fitness to come to work

This area is for OUH staff only - please visit the NHS website for general information about Coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you are an OUH staff member and you need further information, please speak to your line manager or email staffquestions@ouh.nhs.uk.

Risk assessments

All vulnerable staff need to have a COVID-19 Individual Risk Assessment completed - please see form on the Occupational Health intranet site.

Vulnerable staff include:

  • all staff who may be considered at increased risk from COVID-19 complications (see Government guidance)
  • staff whose immune system means they are at higher risk despite vaccination (see Government guidance)
  • pregnant staff
  • unvaccinated staff

If concerns remain about a staff member's work arrangements on completion of the risk assessment, please use the same form to request additional Occupational Health advice.

Some staff will feel anxious about returning to work if they have been working from home for an extended period and a manager may wish to make short-term work arrangements such as a phased return or adjustments to duties. Encourage staff to contact the Employee Assistance Programme or the Occupational Health team for support if they find anxiety is a barrier to their return.

For staff who are not in a vulnerable group, there is no need for Occupational Health to be involved. A record of the conversation with the manager can simply be made.

Your local HR team can provide you with general advice about risk assessments and should be your first port of call.

For further advice please visit:

Pregnancy

When community rates for COVID-19 infection are high (more than 100/100,000 cases in the community per week), we advise the following:

  • Pregnant women should avoid direct patient care where a COVID-19 testing programme is not in place, especially if they have not had a COVID-19 'booster' vaccination
  • Pregnant women over 28 weeks' gestation or with significant health risks at any gestation age (as advised by their antenatal team) should work from home
  • Pregnant women over 35 years old / BAME / obese or with health issues such as hypertension or diabetes or immune problems are considered at higher risk and are advised to avoid patient-facing roles and work from home wherever practicable to do so.

When rates are low (less than 100/100,000 cases in the community per week), for those not at higher risk (see above), there can be more flexibility in where a pregnant woman may work and managers are advised to support the individual's choice wherever practicable subject to a robust risk assessment. However, any staff member with concerns about their risk assessment and the resulting recommendations should speak to their manager in the first instance but can be referred to Occupational Health for further advice.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that anyone who is pregnant should be offered COVID-19 vaccines. Pregnant women are a priority group for booster vaccination.

A guide on COVID-19 vaccine for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding - UK Health Security Agency (pdf)

Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff

People from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

We want to ensure that all BAME staff working at OUH feel safe and supported.

All BAME staff who may be vulnerable (see above) should have a COVID-19 Individual Risk Assessment completed with their manager to consider their workplace infection control arrangements.

Our diverse workforce is one of our greatest strengths. We recognise our BAME staff may be feeling particularly anxious at this time, and we hope this makes a real difference.

After having COVID-19

If you are unsure about your fitness to return, please see advice on self-isolation or contact Occupational Health via email: ouh-tr.staffcovidtesting@nhs.net.

It is possible to get re-infected with COVID-19. If you develop further symptoms of COVID-19 please follow current guidance.

COVID-19: managing healthcare staff with symptoms of a respiratory infection - gov.uk

Immunity

The period of time after having COVID-19 for which immunity lasts depends on multiple factors, such as your genetics and sex, the strength of your initial immune response, and the characteristics of the virus itself as it continues to evolve.

Even if you have had COVID-19, we recommend that you complete your COVID-19 vaccination course.

PPE

The Trust's infection control practices are essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to patients and colleagues.

You must continue to wear all appropriate PPE and follow all the Trust's infection control processes.

Last reviewed:29 December 2022