The Importance of Employee Health Data Management

Managing employee health data is a crucial responsibility for any organisation that values the wellbeing of its workforce. This sensitive information, which may include medical records, occupational health assessments, and absence data, plays a vital role in supporting the health and safety of employees, as well as informing key business decisions. However, with this responsibility comes the need to ensure that employee health data is handled securely, confidentially, and in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Legal and Regulatory Framework

In the UK, the management of employee health data is governed by several key pieces of legislation:

1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR sets out strict rules for the collection, processing, and storage of personal data, including health data. Organisations must have a lawful basis for processing health data, such as consent or legal obligation, and must ensure that the data is kept secure and confidential.

2. Data Protection Act 2018

This act supplements the GDPR and provides additional provisions for the processing of special categories of personal data, including health data. It also outlines the responsibilities of data controllers and processors, as well as the rights of data subjects.

3. Access to Medical Reports Act 1988

This act gives employees the right to access medical reports prepared about them for employment purposes and to request amendments or withhold consent for the release of the report.

Best Practices for Managing Employee Health Data

To ensure compliance with legal requirements and protect employee privacy, organisations should follow these best practices:

1. Develop Clear Policies and Procedures

Establish clear policies and procedures for the collection, use, storage, and disposal of employee health data. These should be communicated to all relevant staff and reviewed regularly to ensure they remain up-to-date with any changes in legislation.

2. Obtain Informed Consent

When collecting employee health data, ensure that individuals are fully informed about the purpose of the data collection, how the data will be used, who will have access to it and their rights under data protection law. Obtain explicit consent where necessary and keep records of all consent obtained.

3. Limit Access to Health Data

Restrict access to employee health data to only those individuals who have a legitimate need to know. This may include HR professionals, occupational health providers, and line managers where relevant. Ensure that all individuals with access to health data are properly trained in data protection and confidentiality.

4. Ensure Secure Storage and Transmission

Store employee health data securely, using appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect against unauthorised access, accidental loss, or damage. When transmitting health data, use secure methods such as encryption to prevent interception.

5. Regularly Review and Update Data

Ensure that employee health data is accurate, up-to-date, and not kept for longer than necessary. Implement processes for regularly reviewing and updating data and securely disposing of any data that is no longer required.

6. Work with Trusted Partners

When working with external partners, such as occupational health providers or medical professionals, ensure that they have robust data protection policies and procedures in place. Establish clear agreements outlining the responsibilities of each party in relation to employee health data.

The Role of Occupational Health Providers

Occupational health providers, such as London City Healthcare, play a crucial role in supporting organisations in managing employee health data effectively. By providing expert guidance, secure systems, and confidential services, occupational health providers can help ensure that employee health data is handled in compliance with legal requirements and best practices.


Managing employee health data is a complex and sensitive task, but one that is essential for promoting the health and wellbeing of your workforce. By understanding the legal and regulatory framework, implementing best practices, and working with trusted partners like London City Healthcare, organisations can ensure that employee health data is managed securely, confidentially, and in compliance with all relevant requirements.

For expert support and guidance on managing employee health data, contact London City Healthcare on 0207 236 3334 or via our contact page.

Dr Amun Kalia

Dr Amun Kalia

Dr. Kalia helps to run the Occupational Medicine provision for London City healthcare and is a company doctor for one of the largest multinational companies based in the UK.

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