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Services and support within each Local Authority, Jobcentre Plus or Health Board area.

Occupational Health & Wellbeing Support

Occupational health, as defined by the Joint ILO/WHO Committee on Occupational Health, involves the:

  • Promotion and maintenance of the upmost physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations.
  • Prevention and protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health.
  • Placing and maintenance of the worker in an occupational environment adapted to his physiological and psychological capabilities.
  • Adaptation of work to man and of each man to his job.

The main focus in occupational health is on three different objectives:

  • Maintenance and promotion of workers' health and working capacity.
  • Improvement of the working environment and work to become conducive to safety and health.
  • Development of work organisations and working cultures in a direction which supports health and safety at work and in doing so also promotes a positive social climate and smooth operation and may enhance productivity of the undertakings.

Embracing the need for occupational health and wellbeing is beneficial for employees who can be more effective workers and employers who benefit from healthier and more productive workforce.

Following the publication ofHealth at Work - An Independent Review of Sickness Absence in Great Britain, the DWP will be establishing the Health and Work Service during 2014. it will provide:

  • A state funded assessment by a professional with occupational health skills, for employees sick for 4 weeks (or earlier if required), with referral being made by the GP in most instances;
  • Advice regarding interventions, which could facilitate a return to work;
  • Signposting to other services for support which may fall into one or more of three groups:

- Health related issues
- Workplace issues and work place adjustments.
- Non health-related issues and non-work issues.

  • Case management for those employees with complex needs, to return to work.
  • Advice to employers, employees and GPs via phone and an on-line service.

The service will be for people who are in work, not the unemployed.

It aims to support employees who have health challenges to remain in or return to work. Additional key benefits include:

  • Individual health and wellbeing: the longer someone is absent from work due to sickness, the harder it is to get back to work, and long-term worklessness causes more than financial loss, but is damaging to health and social wellbeing. The HWS will aim to get people back to work as soon as appropriate.
  • Knowledge of good occupational health: by increasing the availability of relevant occupational health advice, the HWS should help to make employees, employers and GPs more informed about the benefits of health and work on an individual's wellbeing.
  • Occupational health standing: the creation of a national service will help to strengthen occupational health as a profession, noting that professionals with occupational health skills are expected to include occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists and others, in addition to occupational health physicians and nurses.
  • Preventative measures: the HWS is open to GPs, employers and employees, at any time. This can help to ensure that individual employees, employers and GPs are provided with assistance to prevent a sickness that may result in absence from work.
  • Employers: a reduction in sickness absence can aid in organisational management, planning, productivity and continuity, increased access to practical advice and guidance and management time saved in finding practical solutions. These measures contribute to supporting economic growth.

The Scottish Government welcomes the proposed new service. However, there remains uncertainty regarding the model and process of delivering it in Scotland. There are ongoing discussions with the DWP regarding the Scottish preference for delivering the service through the public sector.

With the form of the Health and Work Service to be determined in Scotland, existing potential service providers in the field of occupational health and wellbeing include: