What can my GP do to help me with my disability?

You will need to talk through the options with your GP. The greater the changes needed at work, the more contact you are likely to have with your GP, who is also likely to be in contact with your employer, subject to your consent.

If your organisation offers a workplace occupational health (OH) service, your GP is likely to be in regular contact with them. But this should only be with your agreement. You are entitled to be kept fully informed at all stages of any discussions or communications between your GP and your employer. Some GPs know more than others about employers' duties to make reasonable adjustments and about good practice. 

Depending on your disability, there may be a lot to consider. 'Work adaptations' is a very broad term, ranging from a few basic changes to your start time, days of work or responsibilities, to significant changes such as providing disabled access. 

You should also check our advice on Dealing with Doctors.

Your GP can now refer you to the government-funded Fit for Work scheme which aims to help employees stay in or return to work.

There are two elements to Fit for Work:

  • free, expert and impartial work-related health advice through a website and telephone line; and
  • referral to an occupational health professional for employees who have been off sick or who are likely to be off sick for four weeks or more. The referral will usually lead to a Return to Work Plan. If the worker agrees, the Return to Work Plan is then sent to the employer and the GP.

Anyone can be referred to the service so long as they are in paid employment, are off sick and are likely to return to work. 

The advice element is available in England and Wales at www.fitforwork.org and in Scotland at www.fitforworkscotland.scot.

Details are due to be announced of the phased roll-out of the referral service.

The TUC's Work and well-being report (PDF, 845KB) points out that improving employee well-being is the best way of reducing sickness absence.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.