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Policy on Alcohol And Substance Misuse in the Workplace Prepared by:

Barry Lane

Responsible Area: Approval Information:

Human Resources/Organisational Development Date Approved: 29 February 2008 COMMITTEE:Trust Board Approved By:

Reference to Standards for Better Health Domain

Core/Development standard Performance indicators



Print Name


Version No. Approved:


Review Date:

February 2011

Department of Health 2004 Standards for Better Health First domain Safety Sixth domain Care Environment and Amenties Seventh domain Public Health Development Standard D1 Core Standard C20 Core Standard C23


(Key measure(s) to demonstrate policy, protocol or guideline is working (minimum 1, maximum 3)


Policy on Alcohol And Substance Misuse in the Workplace

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POLICY STATEMENT It is the policy of Kirklees Primary Care Trust (the PCT) that the safety and security of patients, clients and employees are paramount. The PCT will therefore strive to prevent alcohol and substance misuse problems in the workplace. It has therefore established this policy, in order to protect the service users and the interests of the individual. Alcohol and substance misuse can have a detrimental effect on performance. It can lead to concerns relating to safety, poor performance, absenteeism, lateness, behaviour and team morale and have an adverse effect of the health of individuals. Substance misuse refers to illegal substances including the misuse of legal drugs, for example not following prescribed medication instructions. It is the policy of the PCT that individuals who have identified alcohol and substance misuse problems will be offered help and support in an environment which is caring, informal and confidential. The policy should be considered alongside the laws relating to alcohol and illegal substances, including those relevant to health and safety at work. It should also be read in conjunction with the PCT procedure on alcohol and substance misuse issues within the workplace and the policies and procedures on sickness, health and safety and discipline. All employees have a duty of care for themselves and others under health and safety legislation. They must report any concerns about other colleagues or health care professionals who they feel may be under the influence of alcohol, illegal or prescription substances. Employees and officers of the PCT must ensure that they are fit to undertake their duties whilst at work or whilst engaged on PCT business, including on call commitments. They must be mindful of the time required for the body to recuperate from the effects of alcohol. Employees and officers of the PCT should not drink alcohol or take substances that could affect their performance whilst on the organisations premises, during any working hours, in their statutory breaks or in the hours immediately preceding their shift ( subject to the exclusions outlined in paragraphs 4 and 6 of the procedure).



The aims of this policy are:(a)

To prevent and minimise any risk to patients and service users that may occur from alcohol and substance misuse by employees of the PCT.

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(b) (c) (d) (e) 2.2

In order to achieve these aims, it will be necessary to: (a)

(b) (c) (d)


to promote healthy behaviour by staff in relation to alcohol and drugs; to minimise alcohol or drug related harm to staff (including harm caused by the behaviour of others); to minimise the adverse consequences of alcohol or drug misuse for the PCT. To promote the PCT as an exemplar of good health and good employment practice.

provide staff with information which enables them to make sensible decisions about alcohol, drugs and other illegal substances; encourage and assist those who feel they may have a problem to seek help in confidence at an early stage; help those with problems to gain access to the most appropriate agency; create a climate within the PCT that promotes healthy behaviour, and avoids contributing to alcohol or substance misuse problems.

REVIEW OF POLICY This policy will be reviewed within 3 years of implementation.

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Procedure and Management Guidelines on Alcohol And Substance Misuse in the Workplace

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INTRODUCTION The Kirklees Primary Care Trust (the PCT) seeks to prevent alcohol and substance misuse within the workplace in order to protect service users and the interests of individual employees.


HEALTH AWARENESS Alcohol and substance misuse can have serious detrimental effects on the health of individuals. It is the policy of the PCT therefore to promote safe and responsible limits of alcohol consumption within the population and also by employees and to advise the population of the risks to health of the misuse of both prescribed and illegal substances.



This procedure applies to both employees and officers of the PCT,. It should also be noted that the principles should also be seen to apply to visitors to PCT premises and employees should ensure that any visitors for whom they are responsible comply with this policy and report or address any concerns in a sensitive manner.


The principles and actions outlined in this procedure are applicable to alcohol, illegal drugs, the misuse of other substances including solvents and the misuse (whether deliberate or unintentional) of prescription medications.


The PCT acknowledges that dependency problems relating to either alcohol or other substances are a health issue and will therefore seek to address such concerns in a supportive and sympathetic manner whilst having due consideration for safety at all times.


Where additional concerns arise linked to dependency including absence and poor performance these should be dealt with under the PCTs policies on capability and ill health.


If a concern arises that is not due to a dependency problem the issue will be dealt with under the PCT disciplinary policy. It should be noted that to be unfit for work through the misuse of alcohol or any other substance could be deemed to be gross misconduct.


Employees should not consume alcohol or take any substances that have a detrimental effect on their performance within working hours, on PCT premises, during statutory breaks or in the hours immediately prior to the start of a shift.

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Individuals must be aware of the time it takes the body to recover from alcohol or other substances and ensure that they are not under the influence of any substance when their shift begins.


All staff who undertake on call duties, including senior managers and directors may be required to give advice or attend work at any time during the on call period and should therefore ensure that they are fit drive and attend work if required to do so at any time during the on call period.

USE OF ALCOHOL ON THE PREMISES There may be exceptional occasions when the normal requirement not to drink on the premises may be set aside and directors may permit the consumption of alcohol. These occasions should usually occur at the end of the normal working day and employees who may be returning to work following an event should ensure that they do not consume alcohol. Employees who need to drive following such events should be particularly alert to ensure they do not exceed the recognised blood/alcohol level. The director is responsible for ensuring this privilege is not abused. On occasions when alcohol is permitted, a selection of non-alcoholic drinks will be offered that is at least equal to or more than the alcoholic drinks on offer. If any alcohol is stored on the premises it should be kept in a secure, unobstrusive place under the direct control of the relevant director. Acceptable circumstances for the provision of alcohol would be special celebrations for example, retirement parties and celebrations of specific achievements.



Tackling an Immediate Problem The procedure to follow will depend upon whether the manager believes the individual has a dependency problem or if it is a one off incident where the individual has attended for work under the influence of alcohol. If it is the latter the discipline policy should be followed. This procedure outlines a supportive mechanism for individuals within the organisation who may have alcohol or substance dependency problems. If it comes to a managers’ attention that an employee may be under the influence of alcohol or other substances the following procedure should be followed:

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The manager should try to establish and verify if the employee is under the influence of alcohol or other substance at that time. It is advisable that this is done by two people more senior to the individual however it is acknowledged that this is not always possible. Advice from a senior manager, the on call director and the HR department should be sought at the earliest opportunity. The manager should try to establish the facts and circumstances of the case and make particular note of whether the individual has a smell of alcohol on their breath, appears unsteady, whether there are any noticeable behavioural changes and whether there is any effect to their speech and balance. It should be noted that these signs can also indicate some medical conditions and are not conclusive in indicating that an individual is under the influence of alcohol or other substances. If there is any doubt that the individual is unfit to continue with their duties because of any of these signs which may or may not be attributable to alcohol or other substances then they should be removed from the workplace and to a place of safety with immediate effect. This would normally require a suspension from duty. The discipline policy should be followed when dealing with such cases. If a line manager or employee has a concern about an individual and does not have another person available who can verify the individuals condition the employee could be removed from the workplace and asked to wait in a staff room or other non-work area for a short period of time until other assistance can be summoned. The manager should ensure that the member of staff is safely transported home. Consideration needs to be given to arranging transportation or contacting a relative with the individuals permission. The PCT will require that any costs incurred by arranging transport will be reimbursed by the employee. Advice from a senior manager and/or HR adviser should be taken.


A full investigation including an investigatory interview with the individual should be initiated the following day by the line manager under the PCT disciplinary procedure.


If an individual accepts that they have an alcohol dependancy problem the line manager should undertake an Immediate risk assessment of the situation regarding their work including consideration of whether they have client contact or are required to drive in the course of their duties. The PCT is mindful of the fact that as a healthcare organisation many employees have access to prescription medications as part of their employment role. This fact should be taken into consideration when dealing with any concerns or investigations relating to an individual who may have a substance misuse problem. Consideration should also be given to whether any adjustments could be made to the individuals job or employment

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that are reasonable or applicable particularly if they are required to drive or have client contact.



They should be referred to Occupational Health or a specialist agency as outlined in appendix 1. The organisation will offer reasonable support and help to individuals to overcome what is considered to be a health issue, however, the line manager of the individual and the organisation will always have the best interest and the safety of the patients and service users as their first priority in dealing with such instances.


The line manager should continue to monitor the individual on a regular basis to ensure they are complying with the specialist programme. Regular reports should also be requested from Occupational Health. If the individual has had a period of absence from work a report indicating that they are fit to return is required from the Occupational Health department.


If an individual fails to adhere to an agreed action plan the manager reserves the right to refer this issue further for action under the disciplinary procedure or the capability procedure.

SELF HELP It is hoped that in most cases individuals will realise that they may have a problem and will seek the most appropriate help. Sources of help are listed in the appendix 2. Many of these sources are also available to individuals who are concerned about someone else at home or at work.


RESPONDING TO ONGOING PROBLEMS: Poor performance/sickness If a manager becomes concerned about some aspect of workplace performance or behaviour, the first step is for that manager to make known their concerns to the member of staff and explore the reasons. This is no different from any other workplace problem. The manager’s approach to such a problem must be in the context of the PCT policies and procedures. The manager must be aware of their responsibility for employee’s health and safety and consider the possible effects of allowing the situation to continue. In any discussion of an alcohol or drug related problem (whether at the initiative of the individual or manager) confidentiality will be maintained. However, behaviour associated with misuse may have to be disclosed where there is evidence of criminal activity, abuse of a professional position or potential harm to patients or colleagues.

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RESPONDING TO ONGOING PROBLEMS Alcohol or substance misuse problems frequently manifest themselves in other ways including increased sickness absence, performance issues, lateness or unexplained/unauthorised absences. Managers are advised to follow the appropriate PCT procedure for dealing with such issues and refer the individual to the Occupational Health Service where there is any concern that alcohol or substance misuse may be a factor. Self help and a caring approach by the employer are expected to resolve most problems. The decision to accept or refuse an offer of help or a referral rests entirely with the individual. However, where an employee refuses to accept help or when the problems are judged by the manager to be grave or intractable, then this may result in the formal disciplinary procedure being used which may result in the termination of the individual’s employment. The processes outlined in section 4 and detailed in the flow charts in the appendices should be followed. Regular monitoring is required for any member of staff who accepts they have a dependency problem. Relapses and recurrent problems will be reassessed in line with this guidance.


EVENTS OUT OF WORK TIME The PCT are aware that many employees and officers of the PCT are required to attend a range of events and functions where they are seen as a representative or advocate of the PCT. These often occur out of standard working hours and can include functions, training events, conferences and networking events. Employees and officers are reminded that they are expected to maintain a professional image at all times when acting as an ambassador for the PCT. The PCT accepts that the moderate consumption of alcohol in such circumstances is acceptable however any excessive consumption could lead to a detrimental view of the PCT and as such may be considered under the PCT disciplinary policy. Employees and officers of the PCT are also advised that attendance at social events related to work (Christmas parties, etc) can be considered to be part of employment in employment law particularly where this leads to unacceptable behaviour between work colleagues. Employees are therefore advised to ensure that their level of alcohol consumption at such events does not have a detrimental effect on their behaviour. Any breaches could be considered under the PCT disciplinary policy. Employees who are required to drive as part of their duties must be aware of the impact any conviction for driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or other substances may have on their employment. Any incident will be

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considered by the individuals line manager to establish if the individual is able to continue to fulfil their full employment duties in such circumstances. Any conviction for such an offence in work time will be considered under the PCT disciplinary procedure. 7



Responsibility of the employee 

All employees have a responsibility to ensure that they are fit to undertake their duties in a safe and appropriate manner at all times.

All staff have a duty to comply with the policy and must not be under the influence of alcohol, any illegal substances or prescription medication that unduly affects their performance in the work place.

Employees have a responsibility to participate fully and openly in any investigation should an incident occur.

It is the employees responsibility to arrange any representation at any formal or informal meetings as required.

Employees are expected to attend formal meetings as requested and attend occupational health for medical assessment if requested to do so.

All employees have a duty of care for themselves and others under health and safety legislation. They must report any concerns about other colleagues or health care professionals who they feel maybe under the influence of alcohol, illegal or prescription substances.

Many staff have a professional obligation as outlined in the relevant professional codes of conduct to ensure that they are fit to attend work. Failure to do so may lead to action from that professional body.

Responsibility of the line manager 

It is the responsibility of all line managers to ensure that they promote a culture that is supportive and understanding and where staff feel that they can raise issues about themselves or others in the confidence that it will be dealt with in a supportive and appropriate manner.

It is the line managers responsibility to investigate any allegations or concerns about an employees performance howsoever this is brought to their attention.

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It is the line managers responsibility to ensure that a full and immediate risk assessment is carried out if an employee admits that they have a dependency problem.

The manager is responsible for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of patients and service users at all times by following this guidance.

Line managers are responsible for ensuring all staff within their remit are aware of this policy at induction and on an ongoing basis.

The line manager is responsible for ensuring regular monitoring is undertaken for any staff member who accepts they have a dependency issue.

Responsibility of the human resources department 

HR staff are responsible for ensuring circulation of this policy document and guidance.

The HR staff are responsible for providing advice and support to both managers and the individuals on the application and content of this policy and guidance.

The HR staff are responsible for supporting managers and providing advice during investigations and at formal meetings for long term misuse issues.

HR staff will provide confidential advice and support to individuals on alcohol and substance misuse however where this raises serious concerns about health and safety they have a duty to inform the individual that they will need to progress this issue for further action as necessary.

REVIEW OF GUIDELINES These guidelines will be reviewed within 3 years following approval.

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Self Referral to Programme

Meeting with Occupational Health Department or another agency eg local alcohol and drug advisory agency

Alcohol or Substance Misuse Problem?


Alternative sources of help may be more appropriate


Willing to accept support or a referral to Specialist Agency offered and accepted

Yes Yes

Recovery programme requires time off work? No

Employee requests time off work. Manager is required to respect confidentiality and seek confirmation from helping agency. The employee is responsible for informing the manager when time off is no longer required.

Recovery programme

No further implications unless work problems develop


Problem solved


Out of Programme

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Appendix 1 (Part 2) ALCOHOL & SUBSTANCE MISUSE POLICY REFERRAL FROM MANAGEMENT Manager identifies work performance problem

Interview between manager and employee


Employee accepts referral

Work problems continue

Alternative sources of help may be more appropriate


Meeting between local GP or alcohol and drug advisory service


Alcohol problem confirmed



Referral to Specialist Agency offered and accepted No

Referral to Specialist Agency offered and declined

Appropriate Disciplinary Action

Recovery programme offered and accepted Yes

Out of Programme

No Recovery Programme Yes

Continue to monitor No

Problem resolved Yes

Management to inform OH when programme complete

Out of Programme Page 14 of 16






Ext 2442

Huddersfield Royal Infirmary 3.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH Dewsbury and District Hospital

01924 512000


Occupational Health- Calderdale Royal Infirmary



Ext 6163/6079



020 7395 4000


LIFELINE – YOUNG PERSONS 8 Highfields Road, Huddersfield

(01484) 353301



(01484) 510826

32 Portland Street, Huddersfield, HD1 5PT


(01924) 457038

LIFELINE Pioneer House, 53 Branch Road, Dewsbury WF13 1AP



LIFELINE – CALDERDALE (Drugs related problems) 9 Fergusson Street, Halifax, HX1 2EE

(01422) 258800


(01422) 361111

(drugs related problems) 31 St John’s Lane, Halifax, HX1 2QQ


KIRKLEES ALCOHOL ADVISORY SERVICE Social Education Centre, Swallow Street, Huddersfield (behind the Fire Station) (This is a drop in clinic for counselling and treating alcohol problems – self referral every Wednesday 7.00pm – 9.00pm)

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(Telephone contact can be made through St Luke’s Hospital)


AL-ANON is a national organisation for alcohol problems. It will only accept self referral. (Contact only by attendance at St Patrick’s Club, New North Road, Huddersfield on Wednesdays evenings between 8.00pm – 9.00pm).


NATIONAL DRUGS HELPLINE - free, confidential helpline 24 hours, 365 days a year


Narcotics Anonymous -

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Ext 3280

0800 776600 0800 9178765 Minicom 0800 917605 Ethnic language line 0207 730 0009

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