Letters

Career advice for doctors with a chronic illness

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7312.575/a (Published 08 September 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:575

Occupational health service can provide help

  1. Ian Aston, consultant occupational physician
  1. Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH
  2. Department of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care, Treliske Hospital, Truro, Cornwall TR1 3LJ

    EDITOR—MacDonald raises numerous important issues in her editorial about doctors with chronic illness.1 I wish to make several comments about her article and clarify the role of occupational health in helping doctors with chronic illness.

    The role of occupational health services is varied; but the advice provided is impartial and given in the health interests of the person affected. A key task is to advise on rehabilitation and placement in suitable work of those temporarily or permanently disabled by sickness or injury.2 Most occupational health professionals strive to help people remain in useful work by advising on suitable modifications to their duties. Sometimes the medical condition impairs a person's function to an extent that job modifications are impractical, and in these circumstances retirement because of ill health may be advisable.

    MacDonald also mentions several difficulties that doctors with a chronic illness may face in their careers; such as inflexible working patterns, poor contingency cover, …

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