government are introducing a new Health and Work service across England,
Scotland and Wales later this year. The service comprises of two elements:
service will not entail any changes to existing laws. It is simply intended to
identify issues preventing an employee from returning to work and draw up a
plan for them, their GP and their employer, recommending how they can return to
work more quickly.
health and work telephone helpline and online support for employers, employees
to an occupational health assessment for employees on a period of sickness
absence lasting four weeks or more.
referral route will be via a GP, although an employer will be able to refer an
employee if their GP has not done so after four weeks of absence. The service
will take a case-managed approach, with a case manager being assigned to a case
who will be responsible for follow-up and continuity of care. The case
manager will formulate a ‘return to work plan’ detailing any obstacles, recommended
interventions and a timetable. The case manager will also engage the employer
where appropriate to ensure that they understand the workplace and discuss
their recommendations with them.
will go live in Autumn 2014 in limited areas with a full service being in place
from April 2015. The government expects the new service to save employers £70
million a year and cut the time people spend off work by 20-40%.