29th August 2020
INTO is aware of members with medical or underlying conditions who are at very high or very high risk to Covid-19. Initially, the procedure for such teachers to have their risk categorisation assessed was set out in Circular 49/20 as follows:
- A detailed questionnaire is submitted to Medmark.
- Detailed medical evidence to provide further clarity with respect to relevant medical issues is also submitted.
- This information is reviewed by a specialist occupational health physician. This includes an assessment of the combined and cumulative risk that can arise when an individual suffers from more than one health condition.
The outcome of the risk categorisation is in large measure governed by HSE guidance. However, Medmark retains the discretion to place someone into the higher risk group if they feel they have more than one complaint and that their combination of risks warrants a higher categorisation. No individual is placed at a lower level of risk than that set out by the HSE standards.
There is also an obligation on the employer to examine the COVID-19 Response Plan in the school and ensure that all appropriate risk mitigation measures are in place.
INTO sought a government intervention so that members who feel they have had their risk categorisation incorrectly determined by Medmark can have these decisions reviewed in a timely manner and have the opinion of their treating doctors taken fully into account. The DES has announced the that a review procedure is now in place.
Members should email Medmark to request a review as follows:
- Members send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- In the Subject box they type in “Risk Assessment Review”
- Members may attach additional medical evidence should they wish to do so and should include their name and date of birth in the email.
- The review will be undertaken by a team of four specialist occupational physicians who will re-evaluate the medical evidence and deliver a consensus opinion on the risk categorisation. If someone is considered borderline, Medmark has indicated that it is highly likely they will be given higher categorisation.
INTO will continue to monitor this evolving situation to ensure the review process conducts its evaluation in a speedy fashion.