When it comes to the health of the patients in our care, the health of our nurses has to come first – quite literally! Occupational immunisation is vital for healthcare professionals, and helping our nurses with this aspect of the role is all part of a day’s work for the Richmond team.
As a framework-approved agency, it’s essential that Richmond nurses undergo comprehensive occupational health screening and have a current fitness to work certificate in accordance with the latest Department of Health guidelines to prevent any communicable diseases spreading among staff and patients.
We know how challenging this can be, especially as different NHS organisations operate under varying policies, so Richmond Nursing Agency has Occupational Health Advisors and an in-house team to support you in achieving this. We also now have a new turnkey serology service which enables our nurses to have their bloods taken in one of our offices by a fully trained nurse and results of the tests returned within 24-48 hours.
The Occupational Health requirements as laid down by the Department of Health seem more than a little daunting at first, but in fact there are several ways you can supply the information to us. Remember at Richmond Nursing Agency we are here to help you through this process so please don’t hesitate to talk to us if you have any queries or concerns regarding providing occupational health evidence.
Initially we ask you to fill out a medical questionnaire, which takes just five minutes to complete. This questionnaire asks for medical history details including any illness, impairment or disability, as well as details of treatment you may be waiting to have.
We then ask you to provide evidence of immunisations. This is usually where there is confusion over the immunisations/pathology reports required and the type of evidence acceptable as proof.
ALL serology reports or proof of immunisations must be stamped and signed by the occupational health department or GP surgery who is issuing the reports. Unsigned print-outs are not acceptable. If you need an Exposure Prone Procedure (EPP) Certificate to work in theatre or A&E, these results should also state/be stamped IVS (Identified Validated Samples) for EPP clearance. This is to check the identity of the nurse at the time of the test and involves the nurse showing their passport, or some other form of photographic ID. This will then be checked by the laboratory and noted on the report with either a stamp or printed confirmation
With this in mind, here is a quick guide:
Varicella: Written confirmation of having had chicken pox or shingles is acceptable and self-certification is acceptable on our health questionnaire. If you haven’t had chicken pox or shingles we require a test showing a positive result (immunity). Negative or Equivocal results require re- vaccination and retesting.
Tuberculosis: Occupational Health or GP certificate of a positive scar or a positive skin test result.
Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR): Evidence of TWO doses of MMR, or individual lab reports stating a positive antibody (immunity) can be accepted for Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Negative or equivocal requires re-vaccination and re-testing.
Hepatitis B: A recent pathology report showing titre levels of > 100lu/l. If the result is <100lu/l then a Hepatitis B Booster is required. If after two courses and a period of more than two to four months after the second course you still cannot raise your titre level above 100iu/ml then we can accept a signed and stamped letter from your haematology department stating that you are a “low responder”. This can be submitted along with the two original serology reports.
THEATRE or A & E NURSES ONLY
In addition, the following three are ONLY required if you work in theatre or A&E:
Hepatitis B Surface Antigen: Evidence of a negative result.
Hepatitis C: Proof of non-infectivity (negative) with a recent UK pathology report.
HIV: Evidence showing antibody negative.
Public Health England’s Green Book has the latest information on vaccines and vaccination procedures, for vaccine preventable infectious diseases in the UK. Health professionals and immunisation practitioners can keep up to date with developments and updates via regular vaccine update newsletters.
What should I do first?
Firstly, review what you do have. If you’re not sure whether what you have meets the Department of Health criteria then send it through to one of our compliance experts and we will be able to advise you as to its suitability and your next steps.
What if I do not hold any reports to prove I’m immune?
Before we can offer you work we will require you to supply us with valid documentary evidence, but you have some options here too:
Option 1: Go to your occupational health department and organise the missing immunisations you require.
Option 2: If you’re not part of an institution with an occupational health department, Richmond Nursing Agency offers a service where your bloods can be taken by one of our trained nurses and serology reports obtained. We are also able to offer various vaccinations at a number of clinics throughout south Wales. For a detailed list of our services please contact us on 01554 756148.