Government announces extension of successful Health for Work Adviceline service

Photo by bayasaa via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

Yesterday, the Government published its response to the independent review of sickness absence jointly chaired by David Frost, former Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce and Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work, which was published on 21 November 2011. The response, which is entitled ‘Fitness for work: the Government response to ‘Health at work – an independent review of sickness absence’, is available on the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) website.

Predominantly, we are incredibly pleased that the success of our service to date means that our service will continue beyond March 2013 (its scheduled finish date).

A summary of what the report has to say about the Health for Work Adviceline and its equivalent services in Scotland (Healthy Working Lives) and Wales (Health at Work Adviceline), which provide access to high-quality, professional advice
tailored to meet individual occupational health issues, can be seen below:

  • Over the past year, the Health for Work Adviceline alone has offered occupational health information and advice to more than 21,000 people through its website and telephone lines. More than half of all enquiries ask for advice on mental health issues, with questions about fitness for work and the fit note also featuring strongly. Over 80% of customers reported that the website knowledge base and specialist advice was “excellent” or “good”.
  • Evaluation of the pilots found they successfully reached employers and employees
    in small and medium-sized businesses, and addressed a genuine need for
    professional occupational health expertise.
  • The services were highly valued for providing fast access to professional advice.
    More than 90% of users found the advice useful and said they would
    recommend the service to others.
  • Evidence gathered from employers about the perceived impact found:
    • they were reassured the services could confirm that a proposed course
      of action was along the right lines;
    • they assisted employees to return to work and, thereby, reduce staff absence;
    • they made adaptations to the workplace in order to retain staff;
    • they reduced intermittent staff absence;
    • they felt better equipped to deal with future employee health issues.

To see the full Government response to the review of sickness absence, see the DWP webite or, for help with employee health issues, contact the free Health for Work Adviceline (0800 0 77 88 44).

 

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