MyQMUL

Student update: new occupational health provider - transfer of files

From 1 August, the University's occupational health service will be moved to a new external provider. We explain here how this will affect how your personal data is used and stored.

24 July 2020

At Queen Mary University of London, we provide an occupational health service for our staff and students. This services comprises an in-house team and some provision from external providers.

We are planning to replace the existing provision with a new external occupational health provider. It is proposed that from 1 August 2020, the new provider will be OHWorks Ltd. OHWorks is a specialist occupational health provider with considerable experience of delivering these services to universities. Current members of our in-house Occupational Health team have the opportunity to transfer their employment to the new provider.

In order for there to be a seamless transfer of service, all occupational health records held by our current, in-house occupational health service will be transferred to OHWorks. This transfer has been planned for the end of July 2020. The occupational health records contain your personal and special category personal data (relating to your health) and so we are writing to you to inform you of this in advance. This includes data relating to the following:

  • Pre-employment health assessments (staff),
  • Conditional offer – immunisation and OH clearances for medical and dental students
  • Occupational Health referrals (staff)
  • Occupational Health referrals (student)

The transfer of files is normal practice when a new provider takes over a contract of this kind. Both Queen Mary and OHWorks are bound by data protection legislation to ensure that your details are treated in a fair, secure and confidential manner. In this case we consider that the transfer is both in our (and your) legitimate interests (as well as being necessary, in some cases, to ensure we can fulfil our contractual obligations to you) and, in respect of any health data held on you, that the transfer is necessary to continue the provision of OH services to you.

For more information on how we process your personal data, including in respect of occupational health, please see our privacy notice for students [pdf]. You may also wish to look at OHWorks Ltd privacy notice for information on why they collect certain details from you, how they keep this secure and your rights.

OHWorks and Queen Mary are committed to delivering a service that benefits our University and its employees and students over the coming months and years. We want you to feel secure in the way your personal data is handled. Data protection and information security were essential factors in our decision to select this supplier. If you have any questions or concerns with the transfer of your data to OHWorks Ltd, please contact Human Resources by emailing occhealthdata@qmul.ac.uk. They will be happy to talk it through with you.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the transfer.

FAQs: Transfer of Occupational Health records

What is actually being transferred? I didn’t know I had an occupational health record.

If you’ve been referred to our current occupational health service or had a pre-enrolment screening appointment you will have an occupational health record. This will currently be held by the in-house occupational health service at Queen Mary. A new occupational health provider, OHWorks Ltd, has been contracted and we need to arrange for any records held by our current OH service to be transferred to them. As above, if you have any questions or concerns about this, contact Human Resources by emailing occhealthdata@qmul.ac.uk.

Is it normal practice for files to transfer between occupational health providers?

If an organisation contracts with a new occupational health provider, the occupational health records will normally be transferred. This allows us to continue to provide this service for our staff and students.

What occupational health information does the current occupational health provider hold on students?

The occupational health service at Queen Mary may have paper-based records and electronic files for those staff and students referred to occupational health. These records may include pre-enrolment health questionnaires, specialist reports, occupational health physician reports and advice letters, medical notes, blood test results and immunisation records.

How are these records stored and kept secure?

All records are held, securely and confidentially in accordance with the regulations relating to the Data Protection Act, the Access to Medical Records Act and the General Data Protection Regulation. Our privacy notice for students [pdf] explains how we hold records in further detail.

All occupational health staff sign a confidentiality agreement as part of their contract of employment. All paper records are stored in locked cabinets in a filing room. In the case of electronic records, these are protected by anti-virus software and by backup operations.

How long are the records kept for?

The in-house Queen Mary occupational health team will delete all occupational health records and individual referral information from its databases following completion of the transfer of files to OHWorks Ltd. COSHH records are retained for 40 years (as is the current legal requirement). When records are past their retention date they will be destroyed. Information is not made available to third parties, and shredded paper is disposed of appropriately.