Comparison of work-related ill health reporting by occupational physicians and general practitioners.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The provision of occupational health (OH) services to the UK population is limited and concentrated in certain industries. Occupational physicians (OPs) therefore see a different subset of the population than general practitioners (GPs) and their recognition of work-related ill health may differ. To examine how reports submitted by OPs and GPs compare and to discuss how biases may affect diagnostic and demographic differences. The Health & Occupation Reporting network collects information on work-related ill health. OPs and GPs report case details, including demographic information, occupation, industry and suspected agent/task/event. Differences in reporting patterns were assessed. Musculoskeletal and mental ill-health reports made up over 80% of reports to both schemes although the likelihood ratio (LR) showed OPs were 78% more likely to report a psychological case than GPs. OPs were also more (18%) likely to report a female case. Health & social care was the industry most frequently reported by both groups; however, this was in greatly differing proportions (OPs 38%, GPs 14%). When LRs were adjusted for industry, this reduced the likelihood of an OP reporting cases of mental ill health (to 40%) and found them 10% less likely to report females than GPs. OP and GP reporting patterns highlight the variation in OH provision and its influence on the data provided. OPs are best placed to report on health and work relationships; however, as some sectors have poor access to OH services, reports from suitably trained GPs will help inform about this 'blind spot'.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-300
Number of pages6
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010