Closure of the UKAP Occupational Health Register (UKAP-OHR) – actions for OH departments

Audiometry Wordcloud

The UKAP occupational Health Register (UKAP-OHR) is being decommissioned which will require OH departments to take a number of actions. This article explains the background to this, and what this means for OH.

The original objectives of the register

Registration of healthcare workers (HCWs) with certain conditions, was initially required to maintain a comprehensive record within the UKAP Occupational Health Register (UKAP-OHR). This register aimed to centralise and manage information, allowing for monitoring and appropriate management to safeguard both the health of the workers and the patients they serve.

From now on, Occupational Health departments will directly oversee compliance and monitoring of HCWs, ensuring appropriate measures are in place to maintain patient and worker safety without the need for a centralised register.

Why the decision was taken

This decision has been approved by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Chief Executive and Chief Medical Officer for England, following a review conducted as part of standard service improvement activities in August 2022 by the UKHSA UKAP secretariat on behalf of UKAP. This decision is now being shared with Chief Medical Officers for devolved administrations.

The review aimed to assess the impact of the OHR on patient safety and public health guidance, its alignment with UKAP’s advisory role, and the information governance surrounding the OHR. In summary, the review found:

  • The OHR has limited public health utility and no public health action or guidance changes had been initiated from data collected since launching in 2013
  • Considerable amounts of personal data are being held by UKAP-OHR without public health action being taken. Collecting and holding confidential data without a clear use or need conflicts with storage limitation principle of the UK GDPR Article 5(1)(e)

Due to the limited utility of UKAP-OHR in informing public health decision making and the lack of public health action required to be taken from the system, the recommendation was made to cease the OHR.

Actions for OH departments

  • OH departments are no longer required to register HCWs living with either HBV or HIV to the OHR. Test results or new registrations after 31st December 2023 do not need to be reported to UKAP-OHR
  • OH departments remain responsible for ensuring that HCWs comply with clearance and monitoring. This will require OH departments to ensure that robust systems are in place to review ongoing monitoring
  • Responsibility for ongoing health clearance and monitoring now rests solely with occupational health departments
  • To maintain public health assurance, OH departments are still expected to seek advice from Health Protection Teams and/or the UKAP secretariat for any queries related to clearance and monitoring
  • Where there are any concerns around breaches in guidance OH departments will still be able to contact the UKAP panel and HPTs for advice on risk assessments and required actions, as they currently do.

The Integrated Guidance, the Quick Reference Guide (QRG), and the UKAP web pages have been updated to reflect these changes. The revised versions are available on the GOV.UK web pages.