H2. Occupational Health Standards
1 January, 2013
Submitted: 19 December, 2011
British Airways has had its own occupational health department for many years (BA Health Services or BAHS), catering for the complex regulatory, business and employee needs of a large international airline.All the doctors employed are on the specialist register for occupational health (or under accredited supervised training) and/or qualified aviation medical examiners (in the case of those performing pilot medical examinations).Occupational health advisors (OHAs) are expected to be registered on part 3 of the specialist register and to be qualified to OH certificate, OH diploma or public and community health degree level. Occupational health practice nurses (OHPNS) and technicians are trained to the level required for their role and work under appropriate supervision. When the opportunity arises, OHPNS may have the opportunity to be sponsored to attain higher level qualifications and to progress to the OHA role. All nurses and doctors are expected to adhere to regulation and guidance provide by relevant regulatory and professional bodies (e.g. GMC, NMC, Faculty of Occupational Medicine).Where appropriate, external specialist advice is sought either by requesting medical reports from treating doctors or less frequently following referral from BAHS. Medical records are kept securely and confidentially and all reports to management are compiled with the consent of the employee and sent by secure electronic means.BAHS supports continuous professional development (CPD) by means of attendance at external courses and study days and encouraging involvement with external OH and travel health groups. The department organises an extensive programme of relevant clinical, legal and procedural briefings and updates for staff.Equipment is maintained according to manufacturers instructions and regularly calibrated to ensure that any physical measurements are valid and reproducible.Written processes and procedures are in place for many departmental activities and they are currently being reviewed as part of the introduction of a clinical governance programme. Though much is already in place, the clinical governance programme will ensure there is a documented framework for all aspects of OH activity including clinical practice, record keeping, confidentiality, supervision and audit. It will be rolled out in the early part of 2012.Although it is an in house service, BAHS is applying for seqohs accreditation which will hopefully be approved in 2012 as a further measure to ensure the highest standards of OH practice are maintained.