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Can my employer request a copy of my maternity notes?

(12 Posts)
SouthDerbyshireMamma Thu 05-Jun-14 16:34:42

I've had my 2nd Risk Assessment at work today at 33+5. Work are fully aware of my midwifes concerns about the hours I'm working. Unfortunately i can't take my maternity leave earlier than planned (38 weeks) as my maternity allowance hasn't been processed as there was a delay in getting my SMP1 from my employer and there is also a delay with processing.

After my assessment I was asked if they can have a copy of my maternity notes to "score" my risk. If they feel I score above a certain level I'll be sent home on full pay based on the maternity policy.

I have nothing to hide but I really don't feel comfortable with work seeing my notes. Its sensitive information.

Can I decline them access to my notes but still be assessed on my risk based on what I've told them? I guess the other option is to get a fit note.

Any advice is appreciated!

nc060 Thu 05-Jun-14 16:37:23

I think if you are not willing to let them see your notes you would need a fit note from GP as they probably wont just take your word for it.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 05-Jun-14 16:43:42

If someone was going to send me home on full pay at 33 weeks and not take it out of my holiday/paid maternity I'd give them anything they wanted grin

Sorry - obviously you have medical issues and I don't know what they are. If it's an ongoing condition rather than a preg related condition then I think your midwife or GP should be able to have a call and answer their questions as an objective 3rd party without giving out sensitive information unnecessarily. It's not like your HR team will be able to interpret most of the notes anyway unless you have an inhouse doctor?

If it's preg related - the same applies really, but I would be wary of them obtaining access to info that might lets just say, prejudice them against you in future promotion rounds in case you get pregnant again.

SouthDerbyshireMamma Thu 05-Jun-14 16:53:51

Thanks guys.

I think my main worry is that the information held in my notes may be leaked to colleagues. Some members of management are not great at keeping things to themselves. ..for example someone was suspended last night and by 6.30am I already knew what had happened straight from a managers mouth! I was gobsmacked!

It also concerns me they can make a judgement, giving me a score based on my notes. To my knowledge they are not medically trained.

I have a pregnant member of staff on my team and I am certainly not qualified to make a decision on her capability to work when I come round to doing her next assessment. Nor do I feel comfortable asking to see her notes.

Gives me something to think about.

Thanks again

Lottiedoubtie Thu 05-Jun-14 16:58:42

I think I would refuse on the grounds that they are not medically qualified to make such a decision. However I would agree to either see an in-house doctor (at their expense) or your own GP, both of whom would be able to declare you fit or unfit for work.

splendide Thu 05-Jun-14 18:38:03

I presume they are going to show them to a doctor, it won't just be your boss leafing through them!

PicandMinx Thu 05-Jun-14 18:50:53

Say no. Your medical records are confidential documents. I would expect your employer to take a copy for your file. In the context of Data Protection, how would your employer store this information and who would have access to it after your pregnancy?

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 05-Jun-14 22:26:34

Completely different but if you were constantly off ill and suspected of malingering/addiction/suffering from a medical condition difficult to prove eg: migraines. Most people have a clues in their contract that says their company can ask them to see an independent doctor for a 2nd opinion.
I'd just say you are happy to do that but not to share your notes with non-medical staff. It sounds like its in your interests to be signed off so its a fine line.

slightlyglitterstained Thu 05-Jun-14 22:30:45

May be worth posting this in the Employment Issues section?

meditrina Thu 05-Jun-14 22:32:35

If you've got a proper OH department, then you should have no worries about confidentiality.

If you don't, and what they are doing is a work place risk assessment in light of your specific, individual circumstances, then they do need to know if there is anything other than the fact of being pregnant that should be taken into account. If you do not disclose it, they cannot mitigate it.

Perhaps the way ahead is to turn this round, and ask them what it is they wish to know about? Then you can decide what to disclose to bring about the safest outcome.

Sisyphus85 Fri 06-Jun-14 12:31:12

If they want to "score" your risk then it should be a medical expert (either 3rd party or in-house) that is doing it. They won't I really hope share any details with HR or your manager. So pass over your notes in an envelope/file that has been sealed (literally put a sticker over the opening that says for medical expert eyes only).

If it is just HR, or a non medically trained person responsible for OH, then they should take your doctor's word for it. Maybe pass on your GP's number and say they can call, then give your GP permission to discuss but make clear that you are worried about privacy so you'd rather they didn't go into too many details.

Eastwiththem Fri 06-Jun-14 12:52:38

They have no right to see your notes, and unless they are being shown to someone who is medically trained, won't be much use to them anyway. I spend 20 minutes after each midwife appointment googling what she's written in there and my pregnancy is totally uncomplicated so I'm just doing it to be nosey. If the readings/observations she's put in there were anything other than normal/average I would be lost to what that actually meant.

Ask instead to be referred to your employer's occupational health specialist who can assess you and your condition specifically in the context of your actual job. The next step after this is to see an independent doctor who can verify your midwife's opinion. Both Occ health and the independent doctor will provide reports to your employer that give them the need to know facts without disclosing any sensitive information.

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