July 2011


The pre-employment medical

Nuisance or great opportunity?

Volume 40, No.7, July 2011 Pages 541-544

Peter Fenner

This article forms part of our ‘Paperwork’ series for 2011, providing information about a range of paperwork that general practitioners complete regularly. The aim of the series is to provide information on the purpose of the paperwork, and hints on how to complete it accurately. This will allow the GP to be more efficient and the patient to have an accurately completed piece of paperwork for the purpose required.


Requests for general practitioners to conduct pre-employment medicals are increasing, encouraged by the increasing costs of workplace injuries, insurance claims, premiums and common law claims. In many industries, especially mining and natural gas, legislation demands that a medical be undertaken before the employee is allowed onsite.


This article describes the nature of a pre-employment medical and the role of the GP in providing a medical. It also provides tips on how to make the medical part of a preventive health assessment.


Pre-employment medicals are often unpopular as practices struggle to cope with excessive workloads. However, with good time management, prior assessment of the supplied paperwork and the addition of some further questions on health and lifestyle, medicals can provide a good assessment of a patient and assist in the prevention or management of potential or chronic health problems. The medical also provides an excellent opportunity to promote health and to assist in disease and injury prevention by providing feedback for a healthier lifestyle and injury prevention. This is an especially great opportunity for male patients, who rarely visit their GP for routine health checks.

With the increase in litigation for workplace injuries and increasing costs for WorkCover insurance, more employers are requesting pre-employment medicals in an attempt to reduce costs from injuries and time off work.1,2 The goal of the assessment of the potential employee is to assess for any physical impairments such as injuries, weaknesses or medical problems that may put the worker at a greater risk of harm; and to advise the employer of ways to minimise these risks and prevent time off work through injury or illness.3

Download the PDF for the full article.


Yes     No

Declaration of competing interests *

Yes No

Additional Author (remove)

Yes No






Competing Interests: 

Your comment is being submitted, please wait


Download citation in RIS format (EndNote, Zotero, RefMan, RefWorks)

Download citation in BIBTEX format (RefMan)

Download citation in REFER format (EndNote, Zotero, RefMan, RefWorks)

For more information see Wikipedia: Comparison of reference management software