The Complete Guide To Becoming An Occupational Doctor

The Function Of A Medical Professional

There is substantial evidence that working improves health and well-being, yet there are also possible negative impacts of work1. Over a million workers in Great Britain suffer illnesses or injuries at work each year2.

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Despite its significance, occupational medicine receives little attention as a specialty in undergraduate programs, and only a small percentage of medical students choose to specialize in it.

The opportunities that arise if you decide to pursue a career in occupational medicine as well as the significant turning points that must be reached in order to become a consultant occupational medical physician are outlined in this handbook.

“The promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental, and social well-being of workers in all occupations” is how the Committee on Occupational Health of the World Health Organization (WHO) defines the objectives of occupational health.1.

Occupational medicine is much more than just filling out health questionnaires and Hep B tests. It is actually far more diversified than most typical hospital specialties. In addition to assisting patients in returning to work following sickness and assessing job-related health conditions, this specialty calls for doctors to possess a thorough awareness of employment and anti-discrimination legislation and ethics.

By helping patients understand health hazards and encouraging adherence to pertinent environmental, health, and safety regulations, consultants have a significant beneficial health impact on patients and provide access to management positions and chief advisory responsibilities.

Occupational medicine careers are distinct in that a greater percentage of job postings are located outside of the NHS. Occupational medical doctors are directly employed by a variety of organizations, including the Emergency Services, the armed forces, transport companies like Transport for London, and other independent occupational health providers.

Because of the increasing need for occupational doctors in the UK, it could be necessary for the specialty to be completely integrated with the NHS in order to support the number of trainees that are required4.

Moreover, government and corporate agendas strongly prioritize occupational health, and knowledge of this is growing. The overall cost of self-reported occupational illnesses and injuries in the UK for the 2017–18 fiscal year was £15.0 billion2.

In order to increase economic efficiency, occupational health is probably going to be a more integral aspect of government policy in the future. Improved health care at work leads to higher employee engagement and a decrease in the number of workers needing paid time off or early retirement because of health problems connected to their jobs.

A Normal Week

Whether they work for the NHS, an outside occupational health service, or in-house, the duties and environments of an occupational medical physician might differ substantially. A typical workweek may involve workplace inspections, health risk assessments, and clinical activities such as evaluating people for competency and eligibility for ill-health retirement.

Physicians in top management positions are prone to stray from clinical attachment and instead influence corporate policy or even go into epidemiology and public health research.

There are options to subspecialize depending on where you work. Areas of particular importance comprise:

Travel Health Care

Medicine for Disability Assessment

Aerospace Medicine

Dermatology in the Workplace

The field of Occupational Respiratory Medicine

Exercise and Sports Medicine

Radiation Therapy

Sinking Drugs

Occupational medicine consultants have 48 hours a week of labor, with very little on-call and weekend work. However, they are free to pursue other interests. Being employed during regular business hours implies that there is opportunity for excellent work-life balance.

The Path To Become An Occupational Medicine Specialist

In addition to being distinct in terms of the range of possible employers, being an occupational medicine consultant also requires a different training route than the majority of traditional medical career options.

Three stages to become an occupational medicine consultant

Complete medical school and foundation training: Obtaining a medical degree and completing the clinical foundation years are prerequisites for becoming a consultant physician, as they are for all other training paths.

Core training (two to three years): Following foundation training, medical students apply for core training, often in accordance with the specialty training they hope to pursue later on, such as. In order to be eligible for specialized general surgical training, a student must first finish their core surgical training. However, two years of further study in a number of areas can be completed in order to potentially pursue specialist studies in occupational health medicine.

four years of specialized training in occupational health – The Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) is in charge of the 4-year program, which starts with ST3 specialty training in occupational health. One unique aspect of the specialization is that half of all GMC-approved training positions are found outside of the National Health Service (NHS), allowing you to pursue training to work as a consultant for a private organization such an engineering or aviation firm. Applications for training positions in the NHS are submitted through the official NHS recruiting website, “Oriel.” In contrast, BMJ Careers is typically used to offer training positions in business or the non-NHS public sector. Two distinct tests must be passed, along with the completion of a written dissertation and portfolio, during the course. At the conclusion of the four years, students who successfully complete specialist training will receive their Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) and be included to the GMC specialty registry. While it is not required, many trainees choose to pursue a Masters in Occupational Medicine as part of their specialized training.

How is the competition conducted?

Despite the anticipated need for occupational medicine consultants, occupational medicine is a relatively small field, and not enough new physicians are entering and completing specialist training programs. There were barely 9 ST3 training positions in the NHS in 2019 compared to 27 in 2007.

Consequently, there is a high level of competitiveness, with 2.78 applicants for every position. But it’s crucial to keep in mind that more than half of all training positions are held by people outside of the NHS, and there are more and more chances for training through other institutions.

Physicians who would like to work full-time in a different field but are interested in part-time occupational medicine employment can acquire a Diploma in Occupational Medicine (DOccMed). The majority of people who take this course are general practitioners who want to expand their practice by offering occupational health services to nearby businesses.


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