health questionnaire from work

I'm not sure if I'm paranoid, but today everyone was given an employment medical questionnaire, asking assorted questions like date of birth, height, weight GP's name & phone number etc. There's nowhere on the form that says it's medical in confidence, or that only the company H&S officer will see it (not that's she medically qualified in any way).

How much am I legally obliged to fill in? There's a section on the bottom which says "I hereby declare that the information given is full and true to the best of my knowledge. I understand that if at a later date it is discovered that I have knowlingly withheld medical information, disciplinary action may be taken againt me, which may include dismissal"

Other questions include "what is your weekly consumption of alcohol", "are you currently taking prescribed medication" and are you currently suffering from or have suffered in the past from any of the illnesses listed below...there then follows a list including stomach & bowel trouble, headaches, allergies, hearing problems, depression, skin problems.

Can they really take disciplinary action if I don't mention a migraine 3 years ago or tell them I'm allergic to penicillin?

I can see if I a serious medical condition I would inform work, but do they need to know I had PND after both children?


  • Fight the Power kwilts.
  • Seems that as a starting point asking them why they need that and how it will be stored would be fair.

    We have a  'sectret' envelope that HR hold that should we collapse is opened and sent to the hospital, otehrwise stays sealed and not even HR get to see.

  • I'm on the phone to ACAS image
  • kwilter- I would ask more questions, it doesn't sound quite right in terms of privacy.
  • Sounds a bit dodgy Kwilts.  I always have to fill one of thos in when I start a new job, but only basic have you ever type Q's, never how much do you drink.  It seems very intrusive, have you cahnged contracts?  If you haven't, and it wsn't  requirement in your previous one, can they really ask you to fill that in?  I don't know, but I would speak to someone that did, i.e my union, if it were me.
  • We had forms sent round from Human Remains with questions about our sexuality and religion. We just didn't send them back.
  • I particularly like the question about how much I weigh (my answer: no idea) and how much I drink (within normal limits)

  • Why not fill it in saying you weigh 200kgs or something, that you consume 1000000 units per week?...and see what happens?!
  • How much do you drink- Never when im asleep
  • When working for a food manufacturer, anyone who worked in the factory or had reason to enter the factory had to have a 6 monthly medical - consisting of basic checks to make sure you had no nasties which you wouldn't want someone handling food to have. They checked for ear or throat infections, skin conditions etc. You also had to fill in a questionnaire, basic stuff like had you been to a tropical country in the last 6 months, but nowhere near as intrusive as the questions you are being asked Kwilter.

    I don't know what your job is, but can't think of anything where those questions are relevant.

  • She's a crane driving schizophrenic
  • Depends, could be a bit daft, but do you get priate health cover or Permanent Health Insurance as part of your job.  May be related to the premiums the company pay, and so in reality you should send those back to the insurer without the HR looking at them - could just be a huge lack of communication.  Just ask, that's fair enough.

    Or assume something dodgy is happening, go on strike, get the press and the unions in first.  Whichever you fancy really.

  • All of the questions asked are part of a life assurance application form, perhaps your company are bringing in some sort of group scheme and wish to underwrite it's potential members?
  • Private health care??? Don't make me laugh! I didn't even get any company sick pay when I was off for 2 months recently
  • Juliefrazz, it is a food manufacturer, but I only work in the office not the factory. The thing is there's nothing I would mind disclosing to a medical professional, but don't see why my office manager should need to know. PND is one thing, but what if I'd been hospitalised and needed ECT?

    I asked when I came back after 2 months off with cancer if I needed a back to work interview and was told that I didn't, yet 3 weeks later they want to know how much I drink?

    I've never been asked to fill one of these type of forms in before, so if it's normal procedure I'll do it under protest. I might list every headache and injury I've had in the last 20 years though

  • Why, Kwilts?  Do you keep a diary of that sort of thing?  image  You need more information to be able decide whether the questionaire is relevant I think, as D74 says.

    So how much do you weigh anyway?  Really, go on you know you want to say!!  image 

  • I've only got kitchen scales at home, I'd have to guess...9 stone image
  • You need to know why they want you to fill it in and what they're going to use the information for.  But I suggest you talk to your colleagues and make it an enquiry from all of you rather than sticking your head above the parapet on your own.
  • Good advice Mr W
  • From my tiny bit of knowledge of these things, I think the idea behind it is to prevent someone having an industrial accident and trying to claim for a previous unrelated injury.  For example, you may have had years of back pain which the company has no knowledge of, then have a fall at work and sue them for thousands for a back injury sustained on their premises.  Does that make sense? 

     That said, it sounds a particularly intrusive form, and you certainly shouldn't have to give weight, GP's details etc.  Presumably the company has an emergency number and if you collapsed at work they wouldn't be ringing your GP anyway. 

     There should also be some sort of assurance that the form is confidential.  As D74 and Coops said, it could be related to some sort of income protection scheme, but that should be made abundantly clear to you and you should be issued with a private/confidential envelope in which to return it. 

    Depending on the size/structure of the company, I would ask in writing what the purpose of the form is and then go the ACAS route. 

  • What does your contract of employment say?  Is your employment subject to any sort of health clearance? Hubby is an employment lawyer but out at the minute.  I'll report back later but he always starts at the contract. 
  • Got a new contract last week, Soup Dragon, I've not had chance to read it properly, just skimmed it, but I've not signed it yet. There seems top be a clause waiving my right to only work 48 hours a week image
  • Hmmm Kwilter - this new contract, is it that you have just joined the firm or are they trying to introduce a new contract when you already work there?  Don't sign away your 48hour week limit unless you actually want to work more than 48 hours.  If you already have a contract it can't be changed unilaterally.  Is there a Union?
  • some employers will argue that even if you don't sign it, by nature of turning up for work you are accepting the terms of the contract.

    we are looking at introducing BUPA cover where I work, to complement a death-in-service package we already have and i have been asked to produce details of all staff off sick for more than 90 days (which tends to be those off with depression or those undergoing treatment for cancer).

    i'm not sure about signing the waiver on the WTD - it is fairly common in my industry (social care) and i don't see any issue with it myself, but then again i'm not likely to be asked to do such extra hours.

  • I THINK (polease take legal advice) that if you don't write to say you wish to discuss / refuse to accept the new terms and work for 2 weeks then you are deemed to have accepted them anyway.  It's what happened when my wife left her last company, she was already about to leave, just awaiting her contract form the new comany and her old company changed the terms,  including notice period.  As she couldn't exactly dispute the notice period on the basis that she was intending to quit in a few weeks then it meant that she had to do another 2 months (4 week up to 3 months notice) by the time she actually handed her notice in.  At the time we checked with CAB and because she'd not said 'no' but worked for (as I say, I think it was) a fortnight then they said it was deemed to be accepted.
  • Employers will argue all sorts of things but that doesnt always mean that they are right - and often aren/t.  Silence does not convey agreement to a new contract, especially on such a short time scale. Hubby has a tribunal case on this very point tomorrow on behalf of the employee and expects to win as there is case law to support his arguments. 

    There are a number of other issues here.  Firstly, can you be sacked for not disclosing a medical condition?  It has to be fair so the condition would have to make a material difference to your ability to work.

    Should you complete the form?  You have to obey reasonable management instructions but giving personal information without knowing what it is required for or even who will see it doesn;t sound very reasonable. Definately get more information.  And the data protection act may apply to who has access to that information

    New contract terms have to be agreed by both parties.  If you already have a contract you are entitled to stick to the one you already have.  Complications arise if a Uniion has agreed the  new terms on your behalf. 

    Definately get more advice either from a citizens advice or ACAS and if possible get a group together to put in a collective enquiry rather than just yourself.

    Good luck and keep us posted.


  • I think there's been an article in the press lately about a woman who didn't disclose about depression on her application and then got the sack later for lying when she had a relapse.  Not sure it's entirely relevant in this case as I think it's got more to do with the new contract.  Wouldn't be inclined to sign away the 48 hour limit although I thought the being able to sign it away had been phased out anyway.  I have had medicals when starting at some companies that have gone into all sorts of things including weight, lung function etc, but definitely in confidence with a doctor/nurse.  Not knowing who will read it rings alarm bells for me.
  • I'm too annoyed to say anything sensible about it....image

    I'm off to join Liberty.........

  • I've had to answer questions like that for a security clearance - I think the idea was to see if I could be blackmailed on account of my drinking habits, or something. But when I wrote that I drank 1-3 units per week, I was told to change that to zero!
  • Security clearance?? I work for a local bakery employing 120 people not fecking MI5. H&S person (directors partner) is in tomorrow, I'll have a chat with her
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