The Health for Work Adviceline (the Adviceline) has been a successful part of Government’s health, work and wellbeing strategy since it was launched in 2009. During the past 12 months, 130,000 visitors have accessed the Adviceline website, 25,000 people have registered to use the service, and the Adviceline has provided expert one-to-one advice and support to more than 3,000 businesses (i.e. via the telephone advice line, internet ‘live chat’, etc.).
Lessons learned from the Adviceline service have helped to inform the design of the Government’s Health and Work Service, which will be launched later this year.
The new Health and Work Service will provide advice via the internet and telephone, and an occupational health assessment and case management for those who have been on, or are expected to reach, four weeks’ sickness absence. The occupational health assessment will set out the issues preventing an employee from returning to work and provide a return to work plan for the employee, employer and GP that recommends how to overcome these issues.
The plan will include, where relevant, a timetable for a return to work, fitness for work advice and signposting to work-focused interventions. All employees will be case managed through this part of the service to ensure they are supported and their level of need is correctly identified.
From 29 January 2014, the Adviceline will no longer be offering telephone support or one-to-one advice from the website (i.e. ‘live chat’, ‘ask a question’). However, in the interim period until the launch of the Health and Work Service, the Adviceline website will continue to offer information on health and work issues to help people stay in and return to work, as well as offering access to over 240 guides and more than 170 blogs (more added regularly) to support employers, employees and GPs in managing issues relating to health at work.