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What Are My Rights Regarding Hospital Appointments?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 15 Dec 2021 | comments*Discuss
Appointment Medical Employer Holiday


My daughter works full-time and has to take a day off work for a hospital appointment. Her employer says it must be taken as a holiday. Is this correct?

(Ms Annabel MacDonald, 16 September 2008)


The short answer to this question is, unfortunately, yes. Employers are not required by law to allow workers to attend medical appointments in work time.

This means that an employer is perfectly within their rights to take the time for attending medical appointments out of an employee's holiday allowance. This is true of hospital appointments, doctors' appointments and even trips to the dentist.

Pregnancy Makes a Difference

The main exception to this is for Expectant Mothers, but even then it does not cover everyone. There are rules in place that require employers to give time off for mothers to attend antenatal care but only if it is advised by a midwife, health visitor or doctor. These rules do not apply to self-employed women, women serving in the armed forces, policewomen and share fisherwomen (those not under a contract of service).

Is Disability an Issue?

The waters are muddied slightly if the appointments are connected with a condition that could be called a disability. In that case, an employer must make reasonable Allowances For The Disability, and allowing time off for medical appointments is considered to be a 'reasonable allowance'.

If you are unsure about whether or not you fall under the definition of a disabled person in the terms of the Equality Act, then you can seek advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Look for Compromise

The good news is that most employers would want to come to some sort of accommodation to make it easier on the employee and better for the organisation. After all, having to co-operate with a member of staff is cheaper and easier in the long run than having to hire someone else to replace them.

There are a number of solutions and it is worth approaching the relevant supervisor or manager to sound them out about a different arrangement. In an office environment it might be possible to work an extra hour or two during the week that a medical appointment is due, so that the time is given back in a form of unofficial flexi-time.

This might not work with shift work but perhaps then the day of the medical appointment could be taken as unpaid leave. Although the employee's earnings would go down, they would still have their holiday allowance untouched. It depends which is the better of the two evils. Find out more about sick leave and holidays here.

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Hi… my Son had a heart transplant in 2017he returned to work, upon his return to work interview he explain that he will have to attend ongoing life longhospital appointments. He attended his appointments for the lastfour years,having to use holidays or paying back the time. He’s just found out that he shouldn’t of had to use his holidays according to the company policy. The company has said that they can only give back 2day in total he would of use 27 days Can he get back the 25 days that has been taken?
Pretty - 15-Dec-21 @ 9:18 AM
I had been of from work for 4 months.Went back to work around one months ago- I been not feeling well again and need doctor to see me. But my employer against take time off for see doctor. But I need help as soon as possible... That's is discrimination for me- against my health.When same time was situation- one guy hadpain in arm. He was took off without problem. But I have bigger issue, and they against me taking off. :( that's not right .in my view that's discrimination.Coz I have same rights to see doctor with big issue - as same as boy with pain in arm. ...
Dii - 25-Nov-21 @ 5:59 AM
I currently undergoing tests for what they believe may be cancerous growths on my ovaries. I have my second appointmentment today and for the second time, my employer is forcing me to use my lunch hour to go to my appointment, even knowing that with the travel included an hour would be pushing it close. I am also expected to make any additional time up if my appointment runs over (which it will given the current waiting times to see someone). My question in this situation is, given my employer is aware that my entire lunch break will be spent travelling/having tests done, at what point do they expect me to eat? I clearly have a condition which is not yet diagnosed and am being forced to work a 9 hour day without a break to eat/drink. How is this legal?
shiv - 5-May-21 @ 6:51 AM
I was diagnosed with skin cancer and had 3 operations, one operation had to be changed as work would not allow me the day off for the operation, I was then confirmed with HIV from a tattoo when the biopsy was sent away my CD4 count was 22 and is now at 82 which is extremely low, work do not know the exact diagnosis of HIV but I was advised by hospital that this is life long and first year will be rough for me with immunity tired and sickness Yet when off work deny to pay me and do not want to listen and understand that at the moment my health is up and down, they are treating me like I am been off as a general sickness, this is a medial issue and something I cannot control. Where do I stand as they seem to be acting very selfish and treating me unfair when I have supplied a hospital letter stating my health is life threatening.
rob - 18-Mar-21 @ 7:34 AM
I have acute psoriasis and have medication every 8 weeks. I had a hospital appointment which I put a holiday request in for. This was refused but I said I was still going because of my medical condition. I then had to another appointment a few days later which I again put a holiday request in for. Again refused. I said I was still going because it was about my health and needed to go even if it might no being paid for the day off. I have now been told that I will be having a disciplinary for my days off. Is this OK for a company to do this
Chris - 24-Nov-20 @ 4:20 PM
My daughter has suffered with psoriasis for a number of years which has left her with psoriatic arthritis.After many years the hospital have found a treatment where she needs to attend for 3 days a week for 10 weeks to stop the psoriasis.My daughter works in a school her appointments are made after school finishes, but 1 appointment the playgroup will not allow her to go as they want her to do after school club , she is the only person who does not drive and are making her get taxis the other colleague won't do it she drives but they let her have the Friday afternoon off to get her hair done. Where does she stand when this condition is affecting her health
Ave - 2-Nov-20 @ 10:04 AM
I had surgery two weeks ago and was then, signed off sick, my work have now deducted me a week of annual leave despite me being signed off and are refusing to allow me to attend my 2 week post op check up what are my rights here I work in the care sector and am, supposed to work a 35 hour week yet always work over time to cover for short staff or staff illness yet they're not helping me out when needed
Bee - 7-Feb-20 @ 2:40 AM
I have given my employer the letter for my sons hospital appointment I have txed him a copy of it as he gave it me back the appointment has been and gone and he wants the letter back which I no longer have what are my rights has he is demanding the letter what for
Bakewell - 10-Dec-19 @ 6:10 AM
My child is due to have her pot as she broken it in two places as had the pot on for 6 weeks it's due to come off and I need to finish hour earlier than I useless finish. My management have told me no, how do I stand on this??
Amos - 14-Nov-19 @ 11:21 PM
Hi I've been using my holidays for my disabled son hospital appointments and he has another one coming up in the next couple of weeks and he goes to a children's hospice for us to have a break every 3 months what can I do
Nick - 27-Oct-19 @ 5:59 PM
I told manger Friday the only app I could get was Monday cuz of got asthma and a really bad cough she said I'll have to go on my break I said that fine m9nday came n another manger said no cuz might be busy bare in mind I work with food so coughing every where so now am even poorly and have to have day off aga8n witch I can't afford
Jonsey - 18-Sep-19 @ 2:01 PM
I have had a lot of appointments which my work has taken off me as holiday. I have no holiday allowance left, but still have some oncoming appointments.. what are my rights?
Bella - 8-Sep-19 @ 9:58 AM
Do I have to tell my manager the outcome of a hospital appointment,(I actually need surgery), but everyone at work seems to have an opinion on what's wrong with me and I basically don't want them all knowing my business. What do i do?
Jon - 5-Sep-19 @ 10:34 PM
I was put on a PMP pain management program at the hospital it is over 6 weeks fist 2 wks 4days next 4wks 2days my employer has taken all my holidays to cover this is allowed.
Moe - 5-Sep-19 @ 7:16 PM
I had a hospital appointment and told my employer and give them a copy of the letter the appointment had been bookedfor 4month and I was on overtime as I’d clocked up 62 hrs that week but office staff added work whilst I was on the road which made me miss the appointment how do I stand legally
Dan - 20-Jul-19 @ 3:09 PM
Giving 2 weeks notice for app got someone to cover me was told next day I could not go where do I stand took a panic attackover this I would had to paid £350 to cancel went to my dr next day high blòod pressure was sign off for 2weekswent back not getting my 39 hours
None - 10-Jul-19 @ 10:53 PM
I was run over by a forklift truck in work , I was off for 4 months. I need physioand have some appointments at the hospital. Work are telling me I can't have them days off as it's a busy period with other staff on holiday. They told me to rearrangemy hospital appointmentsfor 2 months later. I think this is unreasonableand illegal.
Enick - 29-Jun-19 @ 5:11 PM
I have booked private appointment so can my employer contact the clinic without my permission.
Shine - 25-Jun-19 @ 11:36 AM
I was offered a cancellation appointment for an operation i have been waiting for for almost 2yrs ...my employer refused to let me go ..what are my rights
Carol - 10-Jun-19 @ 11:12 AM
I have only been working for my current employer for 6 months and I don't get full sick pay. I want to take 3 weeks off for an operation and recovery. I would like to use my annual holidays for this, but my employer says that I can't take holidays for hospital treatment and recovery. What should I do?
Chalky - 23-May-19 @ 10:48 PM
I have to take one and a half hours off work with my daughter for councilling she suffers fromanxiety and the councilling is for berevement for nana and papa i am single parent and dont get benefits but my work still take time off me every week and hospital appointments as well can they do this she is 15years old so i still have to be there kind egards catherine
Kate - 2-May-19 @ 3:44 PM
I have to go to hospital 3half days a week for 3 months starting 5th June for intensive therapy.Where do I stand ? I work full time
Flipper - 19-Apr-19 @ 1:58 PM
Been on sick 1 year through work accident Been waiting for an appointment but had a letter off work saying i refused a appointment how could they now that with out me telling them
Workhard - 11-Mar-19 @ 2:16 PM
I have rems I have a lot of pain and do take sometime off work due to this disability but I'm always docked wages even though its a life long condition is this right for them to keep docking my wages
Madmax - 1-Mar-19 @ 1:25 PM
I was recently diagnosed with epilepsy and I was just wondering if my hospital appointments are covered or do I have to take them as sick leave Many thanks Tracey ennis
Tennis - 9-Feb-19 @ 10:11 AM
Well this is nonsense. The nhs state that workers are entitled to time off for hospital appointments during work time. They can’t deny you health care
Jjones - 23-Jan-19 @ 10:18 AM
I have a Hospital Appointment out of my normal working hours, and as I work in communications, and expected to work overtime in the busy period (December)My Managers are telling me I can't meet my Hospital Appointemt, even though it is outside my working hours.As I have recently been diagnosed with an overactive thyroid, these appointments are crucial to my well being. Can they force me to work overtime ???
suzie - 20-Dec-18 @ 1:37 PM
Can employers make you take your annual leave off if you are off long term with a daughter in hospital rather than unpaid leave? Thanks
Kirk - 11-Dec-18 @ 3:06 PM
My employer said I could go to my hospital appointment.I work part time and was gone 80 minutes. Two days later I was told I wouldn't be paid for attending my appointmentbut full time employees would be paid even though they leave at 3.30pm each day . Is this discrimination?
Tee - 12-Nov-18 @ 5:39 PM
I work part time transporting children to and from school. I’ve had an appointment through for tests in London ... I live in Kent. I rang them to inform them of the appointment but have been asked for a photo copy of the letter. Firstly I only work 3 hours a day and I would not be paid for the time off anyway! Do I have to give them a copy of my letter ?
TracyS - 8-Nov-18 @ 2:21 PM
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