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National Policing Improvement Agency Circular

NPIA 2/2010 This circular is about: Guidance on the Qualification Requirements for Force Medical Advisors Workforce Strategy 9 September 2010 Matt Johnston Workforce Strategy, NPIA matt.johnston@npia.pnn.police.uk

From: Date for implementation: For more information contact:

This circular is addressed to: Copies are being sent to:

Chief Officers of Police Clerks to Police Authorities, H R Directors and Occupational Health Departments

NPIA (National Policing Improvement Agency) 2010

National Policing Improvement Agency

Guidance on the Qualification Requirements for Force Medical Advisors 1. Background 1.1 There is currently no explicit statutory requirement for medical practitioners practicing in occupational health in the Police Service to hold postgraduate qualifications in occupational medicine. However, health and safety laws apply to the Police Service and Authorities must ensure that they are employing competent persons. 1.2 Regulation 7 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states: Every employer shall, subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions A person shall be regarded as competent for the purposes of paragraphs (1) and (8) where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to assist in undertaking the measures referred to in paragraph (1).

1.3 Force Medical Advisors (FMAs) and Occupational Health Practitioners (OHPs) require a very broad range of skills and training if they are to give competent advice and provide a comprehensive occupational health service, protect police forces against litigation and ensure cost-effective assessments of ill-health retirements. This reflects the broad description of competence above. 1.4 Due to the complex and specialist function of FMAs it is not considered to be acceptable for police forces to employ generalists with little or no direct experience of occupational medicine. As this may fail to demonstrate competence from a legal standpoint. 2. Previous guidance on requisite qualifications of Medical Advisors 2.1 With relation to medical advisors, this guidance replaces the Strategy for a Healthy Police Service - ACPO Joint Working Group paper SHP 2. 2.2 In SHP 2 the Association of Local Authority Medical Advisors (ALAMA) advised that the Associateship of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (AFOM) should be seen as a minimum acceptable qualification. Police forces should be aware that this examination is no longer available and is being superseded by Membership of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (MFOM) part II.

NPIA (National Policing Improvement Agency) 2010

National Policing Improvement Agency

2.3 In light of the above, a police force seeking to employ medical advisors are advised to maintain a consistent standard of qualification and employ occupational health medical practitioners with at least the AFOM or EEA equivalent and as that becomes less common, the MFOM part II or EEA equivalent. The MFOM part I and the Diploma indicate a doctor in training or with an interest in occupational health. Such practitioners may not be suited to the role of clinical lead but may be very effectively utilised under the supervision of a specialist occupational health practitioner with the MFOM part II or EEA equivalent qualification. 3. Recognition of Experienced Medical Advisors 3.1 While the MFOM II or EEA equivalent is recommended for new medical advisors seeking employment within the Police Service, it should also be acknowledged that the assessment of competence is not limited to FOM qualifications. Police forces should recognise the value of experienced medical advisors who have been working successfully within the Police Service for many years, but have not achieved the MFOM part II or EEA equivalent. Such experience enables medical advisors to make valuable contributions to policing not only within occupational health units but also by providing valuable advice in assisting senior officers in their strategic planning. 4. Why not use a generalist doctor? 4.1 Medicine is a broad discipline and many will not have had specialist training in occupational medicine. This is particularly relevant for the specialist working environment and complex regulatory framework of the Police Service. 4.2 It is noted that a number of police forces now obtain their medical advisor through a private contractor. While some companies will be employing medical advisors with suitable occupational health qualifications for work within the Police Service, police forces are advised to be clear on the specific skills and competencies that they require. They must ensure that they choose practitioners considered to have those skills and competencies. 4.3 Further information on engaging and monitoring the delivery of an occupational health physician can be found via the Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal Colleague of Physicians website at: http://www.facoccmed.ac.uk/library/docs/empopguid.pdf.

NPIA (National Policing Improvement Agency) 2010