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Medication Enquiry Service

Under the Network Rail Drugs and Alcohol Policy, employees taking prescribed or over the counter medication whose side effects may impact on work performance and/or safety are required to consult with their supervisor or line manager if they are in any doubt of their fitness to carry out their safety critical duties. The supervisor or line manager wil then contact the Medication Enquiry Service.

For a Word version of these Frequently Asked Questions, please click here.

What is the Medication Enquiry Service?

OH Assist provides access to a Medication Enquiry Service via the Chemist-on-Call service.  Chemist-on-Call is a medication checking service designed to ensure employees who carry out safety critical duties on or around the Network Rail infrastructure are not suffering from adverse side effects of medication whilst at work.  Common side effects such as feeling dizzy or drowsy could lead to accidents in the workplace, particularly dangerous for those with safety critical duties, machine operators, and persons working at height or needing to drive for their job role.

Operated by a team of specialist Pharmacists, the service considers potential side effects and whether advice should be obtained from Occupational Health about the potential for the underlying health condition, for which the employee is taking the medication, affecting their ability to undertake their duties.

Should only safety critical staff use the Medication Enquiry Service, or can anyone use it?

This service is provided for any Network Rail employee who works in a safety critical role.

How do I make a Medication Enquiry?

The service is accessible to supervisors or line managers. The employee should advise their supervisor or line manager who will then contact the Medication Enquiry Service.  Connection to the Service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year via:

  • Online, by clicking here
  • The OH Assist Helpdesk on 0845 608 0656, selecting Option 1; or
  • The Chemist-on-Call number of 0845 677 3001.

Once connected to the Medication Enquiry Service, the company name ‘Network Rail’ and PIN code will need to be provided.  Please see below the PIN numbers for each region:

  • 5049 RWAL Wales
  • 5052 RLNE LNE
  • 5053 RSEA South East
  • 5055 RWES Western
  • 5056 REAN Anglia
  • 5057 RLNW LNW
  • 5058 RSCO Scotland
  • 7600 AWEX Wessex
  • 5059 Other business functions

What information is required to make an enquiry?

As part of the medication enquiry check, you will be asked to provide the following:

  • Employee’s personal details (name, phone, email);
  • Employee’s job role details (safety critical Y/N, Sentinel Card holder Y/N, works alone Y/N);
  • Employee’s line manager details (name, phone, email);
  • Details of the person placing the medication check;
  • Full name of the new medication and all current medications; and
  • The dosage of the medication (if known – otherwise please state ‘Not known’).

The information you provide is retained in a secure and confidential environment and is not available to anyone other than the Medication Enquiry Service team and Occupational Health provider, OH Assist.

What happens next?

Once the relevant information has been provided and the medication check has been submitted to the pharmacist, the outcome will be sent to enquiring supervisor or line manager’s email addresses within one hour.  Depending on the medication, the pharmacist may also call the individual to discuss the medication and potential side effects.

Where it is considered appropriate the service may recommend a referral to an Occupational Health clinician.  If this is the case, the manager will be advised to make a management referral, via OH Assist’s online referral portal, Cosmas Vista, at www.myohportal.co.uk.

Employee frequently asked questions:

Do I have to check over the counter pain killers such as Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, Aspirin etc?

Yes, you need to inform your line manager who may contact the Medication Enquiry Service.

Do I have to check over the counter flu and cold remedies?

Yes, you need to inform your line manager who may contact the Medication Enquiry Service.

Do safety critical staff have to notify their supervisor or line manager if they’re taking homeopathic pills?

It is not possible to advise on homeopathic and herbal medicines because there is no evidence base in respect of their pharmacological properties i.e., potential medical affects, side effects etc.  If a line manager does have any concern over an employee’s suitability to perform their duties, due to their underlying health condition, they will need to arrange a management referral, through OH Assist.

I am using body building supplements; do I still have to advise my supervisor or line manger?

The Medication Enquiry Service is not able advise on sports and body building products / supplements because there is no medical evidence about their pharmacological properties i.e., potential medical affects, side effects etc. Importantly, you need to be mindful when buying these products, particularly from the internet, as they may contain drugs that may show up on a drugs and alcohol test.

My GP has said it’s OK to work on the medication I am on, but the Medication Enquiry Service says otherwise. Who do I listen to?

The Medication Enquiry Service is best placed to advise on potential side effects of any prescribed medication in relation to safety critical work.

If I am on long term medication, how often should I make an enquiry?

If you are on long term medication and your supervisor or line manager has previously made an enquiry to the Medication Enquiry Service about this, there is no need to make a new enquiry unless the dose of your long term medication is changed, for example your GP increases the medication dose.

If I am on multiple medications, can I enquire about them at the same time?

You must notify your line manager or supervisor who will contact the Medication Enquiry Service about all medications that you are taking.  You can complete the online form or telephone the Medication Enquiry Service and provide details of all the medications being taken.

I’ve stopped taking my medication, should I report this?

Once you have stopped taking you medication there is no need to contact the Medication Enquiry Service.