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Policy Overview

In recent years Scotland has produced a number of strategies which relate to work, health and well-being, the key documents are outlined below:

In 2003 the Scottish Executive launched Improving Health in Scotland: the Challenge which identified the workplace as an area for focused action to promote public health, improve health and btackle inequalities. A year later they launched the Healthy Working Lives plan detailing how the executive planned to put the workplace strand of their health improvement agenda into action.

The Centre for Healthy Working Lives was established in 2005 to act as the catalyst and facilitator for the delivery of Healthy Working Lives and a review in 2009 has resulted in the development of the Health Works strategy.

Health Works identifies the need for effective linkages between health and employability services locally to help support people with health barriers to remain in or return to work.

The strategy recognises that with approximately 2.5 million people in Scotland in some form of employment, the workplace can play a significant role in the health and wellbeing of a large proportion of Scotland's population. It has a number of key actions to be taken forward by the Centre for Healthy Working Lives.

A response to Dame Carol's Working for a Healthier Tomorrow Report by the Scottish Government addresses the key issues for Scotland.

The Scottish Government's approach through Achieving our Potential. Scotland's Anti Poverty Strategy, and the Equally Well Framework, it is recognised that to reduce inequalities in health and wellbeing, it is necessary to develop interventions which target the underlying causes, of which poverty and deprivation are central.

Scotland's mental health improvement action plan 'Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland' was launched in May 2009. One of its six strategic priorities is to focus on mentally healthy employment and working life.

Following Dame Carol Black's (Working for a Healthier Tomorrow) report, the Fit Note was introduced to replace the old Sick Line. The changes introduced an option on the medical form where the GP can recommend that a person can remain in the workplace, but would require some changes to their work while they recover from their condition. This recognises the evidence that, for many people, remaining in work helps to promote faster recovery.

"The Scottish Government's update of it's Healthy Working Lives strategy confirms the country's position at the forefront of improving the health and well being of working-age people in Britain." Professor Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work