Alcohol Drugs Policy.doc by longze569





Section        Title

1.             Policy Statement and Aims and Scope of the Policy
2.             Duties and Responsibilities
3.             Managing Alcohol/Substance Misuses as a Health Related Matter
4.             Managing Alcohol/Substance Misuses as a Conduct Matter

Appendices :

1.      Flowchart for Managing Problems relating to the consumption/use of Alcohol, Drugs and
        Other Substances

ISSUED:                                                              REVIEW: December 2009
1.1   Rotherham Primary Care Trust (the PCT) is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its
      employees, patients and visitors to the PCT and recognises the risks which may be caused by
      the misuse of alcohol, drugs or other substances.
1.2   The PCT is also committed to providing the highest standard of care and service, and to
      ensuring the highest standard of conduct and behaviour amongst its employees and
      recognises risks which may be caused by the misuse of alcohol, drugs or other substances to
      the achievement and maintenance of these standards.
1.3   It is recognised that alcohol, drugs and other substances cause different problems. The policy
      therefore covers the “habitual or frequent consumption of alcohol and alcohol dependency, the
      inappropriate, illegal or excessive use of drugs or other substances (whether medically or non-
      medically prescribed), and the effects of such use, possession and/or dependency”.
1.4   The policy establishes organisational standards for the PCT on:-
         drinking alcohol
         the taking of medically prescribed drugs/substances
         the taking of non-medically prescribed drugs/substances, which may include those which
          are illegal.
1.5   The policy applies to all PCT employees and those working for the PCT (eg volunteers,
      students on placements etc), without exception, whose actions may affect the PCT, its
      patients, visitors or staff.
1.6   As part of its approach to improving staff health and in support of prevention measures as part
      of a wider Public Health agenda the PCT will not reimburse alcohol only expenditures from
      internal or external out of office/hospitality events. The PCT will not normally provide alcohol at
      conferences, training and sponsored or other events unless this has been explicitly authorise
      by a Director or the Chief Executive.

2.1   Guidance on the consumption of alcohol, the use of prescribed drugs and the use and
      distribution of drugs and other substances on PCT Premises and whilst on duty.
      Alcohol and/or drugs could impair professional judgement, performance or conduct and/or
      pose a health and safety risk and must not be consumed during duty or during any breaks
      (paid or unpaid), with the exception of prescribed drugs taken under medical supervision.
      The consumption of alcohol by employees will not be permitted on any of the PCT‟s premises
      or workplaces, including vehicles. Where alcohol is available at events/activities for patients
      (eg the hospice, People with Learning Disabilities services), employees are not permitted to
      consume any alcohol.
      Alcohol/Substance misuse will be treated as misconduct where an employee at work is unfit to
      undertake his/her duties due to the effect of alcohol, drugs/other substances.
      Improper conduct or unsafe practice committed under the influence of alcohol, drugs/other
      substances, will also be treated as misconduct under the PCT‟s Disciplinary Procedure.
2.2     The consumption of alcohol, the use of prescribed drugs and the use of illegal drugs
        whilst on duty or prior to coming on duty.
2.2.1   Alcohol and/or drugs must not be consumed during duty, as indicated above. Staff will need to
        take responsibility for their own decisions on the timing of consumption prior to coming on duty
        but should not show any mental or physical signs when they report for duty and should be fit
        to drive should their duties necessitate this.
        Any employee who is asked to undertake an additional duty or shift at short notice should
        consider their availability for such work if they are unable to meet these requirements.
        For the purposes of this policy any employee who is „on-call‟ is considered to be available for
        work and should be fit to report for duty should they be called. Any employee who is scheduled
        to be „on-call‟, should consider carefully the timing of their consumption of alcohol or use of
        prescription drugs prior to being „on-call‟ and throughout the period of on call to ensure that at
        all times they remain fit for duty.
        Staff whose duties include driving and/or the use of machinery or equipment have a particular
        responsibility to ensure that they are fully fit to undertake their duties and that their capabilities
        are not impaired as a result of the consumption of alcohol or use of drugs.
        Reporting for work unfit for duty due to alcohol, drugs and/or other substances will be regarded
        as an issue of potential gross misconduct. The prior notification of a substance misuse
        problem may be taken into consideration, but will not preclude action being taken using the
        PCT‟s Disciplinary Procedure, where appropriate.
2.2.2 Where an employee arrives at work visibly intoxicated, appears to be under the influence of
      drugs or smelling of alcohol and the manager considers the employee‟s condition is likely to
      cause any consequences defined as those which:
         interfere with the ability of the individual to work; or
         puts the health, safety and welfare of the individual at risk; or
         impinges on the health, safety and welfare of colleagues, patients and/or the general
      then the employee must at once be escorted from the premises and provided with a safe
      method of transport home.
        And If the behaviour and conduct of the employee renders them unsafe or a danger to other
        staff and/or patients, they may be removed to a place of safety and their condition monitored
        until such time as they can be safely dealt with as above.
        In all cases reasonable steps, including medical attention, shall be taken to ensure the safety
        of the staff member and of others.
        The manager will arrange to meet the individual prior to recommencement of work to discuss
        the incident and consider whether any further action is required. The member of staff
        concerned will be required to reimburse any cost incurred by the PCT in providing transport.
2.3     Use/distribution of illegal drugs
        The PCT recognises its responsibilities under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to prevent illegal
        drugs being brought onto, used or distributed on its premises. Any employee found to possess
        and/or have used or distributed illegal drugs will be subject to action under the PCT‟s
        Disciplinary Procedure as an issue of potential gross misconduct. This will also be considered
        to be a criminal matter and will always be reported to the Police.
        Alcohol/Substance misuse can lead to a number of health problems, including addiction or
        other health/behavioural disorders, which may be amenable to treatment. Employees must
        notify their manager if they have been prescribed drugs which may significantly affect their
        behaviour/performance and this will be dealt with as a health matter under the PCT‟s
        Capability and Managing Absence policies. Alternatively, employees may contact the
        occupational health department should they not wish to disclose the nature of their health
        problems to their manager. Occupational health will, wherever possible, maintain the
        employee‟s confidentiality and they will seek consent before sharing information with the
      manager regarding the impact the medication may have on their behaviour/performance at
      work. Where it is not possible to gain consent and where the use of prescribed or illegal drugs
      may put others at risk, the occupational health service has a duty to protect patients and will
      inform the manager as appropriate.

3.1   Recognising and identification of a problem
      Alcohol/Substance misuse problems may become apparent by an individual choosing to seek
      help on a voluntary basis or by managers, colleagues or others noticing behaviour which
      indicates a potential problem.
      Managers and supervisors will be given support and guidance on the identification of possible
      cases of misuse and procedures are available for referral to Occupational Health and/or
      counselling services. They will not be expected to, nor should they attempt to make medical
      judgements or interfere in an employee‟s private life. However, issues which interfere with an
      individuals work or threaten to do so or otherwise pose a risk to the PCT must be raised with
      the individual concerned.
3.2   Management Approach and Action
      Once a possible case of alcohol/substance misuse is identified the appropriate line manager
      should arrange to interview the individual concerned as soon as possible (in a confidential
      forum) to discuss their concerns, or those raised by others. Given the sensitivity of such
      issues managers should ensure that they seek advice and guidance from the Human
      Resources Department on their approach.
      The employee should be given the opportunity to be accompanied by a colleague or trade
      union representative if they wish. Where this is the case a representative from the Human
      Resources Department should also be present in an advisory capacity.
      If appropriate, where the manager considers the individual to be a risk to themselves or
      others, or to be unfit to undertake their duties at any time, he/she may consider suspension of
      the employee on health grounds.
3.3   Help and Support
      Where a substance misuse problem is confirmed or suspected individuals will be required to
      seek help and this will necessitate a formal referral to the Occupational Health Department,
      their GP and/or other counselling or treatment schemes.
      The PCT will make every effort to provide assistance and counselling to employees with an
      identified alcohol/substance misuse problem.
      Employees attending appointments for treatment should give reasonable notice to their
      manager and may be required to provide confirmation of the appointment.
3.4   Confidentiality
      Individuals should be reassured of the strict confidentiality of any referrals to Occupational
      Health or other medical advisor or agency. The purpose of reports from Occupational Health
      will be to provide managers with a medical opinion of the employee‟s capability to undertake
      their job. Information will only be provided to a manager by the Occupational Health
      Department following discussion with the employee and ensuring that the employee is aware
      of the information to be provided.
      Medical information will not be released without the consent of the employee, except in
      extreme circumstances where there is a risk to public or patient safety or for the prevention or
      detection of crime.
3.5   Rehabilitation and Return to Work
      Taking into account advice from the Occupational Health Department employees should be
      assured that, where possible and within reason, they will be able to return to their post during
      treatment and/or counselling. This will be the preferred option unless it is agreed with the
      individual that a change in post would be beneficial or because continued employment is
      inadvisable on health grounds or would constitute a health and safety risk to themselves or
      Consideration will also be given to a phased programme of return to work after absence and/or
      reorganisation of the employee‟s duties, where this is compatible with both the medical advice
      and the operational efficiency of the department.
      Consideration may also be given to providing a mentorship or preceptorship programme for
      the individual to provide them with on-going support as part of any plans to re-introduce the
      individual into their role and/or their workplace.
      Where an individual is unable to return to their existing post the PCT will consider
      redeployment to an alternative post in accordance with this policy and procedure.
      Consideration may also be given to temporary redeployment if this would assist recovery and
      the process of the individual being able to return to work.
      Where there has been evidence of previous misconduct the employee should be clearly
      advised by their manager of the expected standards of performance, behaviour and/or
      attendance. These standards should be monitored and reviewed over an appropriate period
      and employees should be advised that further action may need to be considered under this
      policy and procedure if impaired performance continues after treatment.
4.1   The PCT‟s rules relating to the consumption of alcohol, and the use and distribution of illegal
      drugs on PCT premises and during work time are outlined in Section 2. Where an employee is
      found to be in breach of these rules this will be treated as a matter of misconduct and will be
      dealt with under the PCT‟s Disciplinary Procedure.
4.2   Where the employee appears to have breached the PCT‟s rules relating to the consumption of
      alcohol etc., as outlined in Section 2, then consideration will be given to the need for
      suspension in accordance with the PCT‟s Disciplinary Procedure.
4.3   In such cases disciplinary action will not be taken until the facts have been established as far
      as possible. This will take place within the formal investigation provisions of the PCT‟s
      Disciplinary Procedure.
4.4   An investigatory interview should be conducted when the employee is fully sober and/or not
      under the influence of drugs/other substances, to ensure they are able to answer allegations
      fully and accurately. The employee should be given the opportunity to be accompanied by a
      colleague or trade union representative if they wish.
4.5   If it is evident from the investigation that the employee has a problem related to the use/misuse
      of alcohol, drugs or other substances then the matter will then be dealt with in accordance with
      this policy and procedure and/or associated procedures, for example, the PCT‟s Policies and
      Procedures on Capability and Disciplinary matters.
4.6   A diagrammatic flow chart giving guidance on the use of this Policy in the management of
      problems relating to the consumption/use of alcohol, drugs and other substances is contained
      in Appendix 1.
4.7   If however the matter is dealt with as a matter of misconduct under the Disciplinary Procedure
      this shall not prevent the matter also being treated at the same time as a problem of substance
      misuse and as a health related problem. In such cases participation in, and information arising
      from, that process will be taken into account as a potential mitigating factor in any disciplinary
Appendix 1

Managing Problems relating to the consumption/use of Alcohol, Drugs and Other Substances
(Referral from Management)
       Manager identifies issues
               relating to
       Alcohol/Substance misuse

        Does the situation                                                 Does the employee
       appear to be one of       No                                         appear to have a
        misconduct only?                                                  problem of alcohol or
                                                                           substance misuse?

No     Event/Incidence of                                          No     Problem identified by
     Capability/Misconduct                                                employee or manager
     Examples :                                                                     Yes
      Consuming alcohol
        at work/ on duty                                                 Action :
      Unfit to undertake                                                 Discussion with
        duties due to                                                      employee
        alcohol or                                                        Referral to
        substance misuse                                                   Occupational Health
      Misconduct whilst                                                   or other agency
        under the influence                                               Provision of
        of alcohol, drugs                                                  counselling / support
        etc.                                                              Phased return to
      Distribution or                                                     work and on-going
        possession of                                                      support
        illegal drugs                                                     Redeployment/

                                      If it becomes evident that
                                          the employee has a
                                         problem of alcohol or
                                              drug misuse
                                                                                Refusal or
                                                                   Yes      discontinuation of
                                                                            help and support

       Disciplinary Action as           Plus a programme of
            appropriate                   rehabilitation and                         No
                                        support, if appropriate

        Inform the police if a
         criminal offence is

                                                                           Out of programme

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