What we do
The Society of Occupational Medicine is the UK organisation for all healthcare professionals working in or with an interest in occupational health.
We are concerned with:
- the protection of the health of people in the workplace
- the prevention of occupational injuries and disease
- related environmental issues
The Society stimulates interest and research in occupational medicine and works with the government, the healthcare community, health charities and other bodies to promote a healthier workforce. It also acts as the voice of occupational medicine, responding to consultative documents and media enquiries on issues affecting the speciality. A national leader in providing continued professional development and education for all doctors and healthcare professionals working in occupational health, it is also a forum for the exchange of ideas, best practice and networking opportunities.
A registered charity, founded in 1935 as the Association of Industrial Medical Officers, it changed its name to become The Society of Occupational Medicine in 1965. In 2012, the Society opened its membership to health professionals working in occupational health.
Who we are
The Society is run by trustees who are informed by the Council (who are Chairs of the SOM UK and international regional groups along with the education panel chair). The Council meets face-to-face twice a year, and participates in teleconferences as and when there is a need. Elected officers are also our trustees.
The Council is the representative forum to influence and debate the issues affecting the occupational health and medicine profession. Members are:
- SOM Regional Group Chairs
- The SOM Education Lead - Professor Kaveh Asanati
- The Occupational Medicine Journal Editor - Dr Steve Nimmo
- SOM members of the Board - as per below
- Chief Executive - Nick Pahl
The Board is made up of members as authorised by the Constitution, who are trustees of the Charity. Members are:
- The President (Chair) - Dr Lanre Ogunyemi
- The Immediate Past President - Dr Shriti Pattani
- The President Elect - vacant
- The Honorary Secretary - Dr Rae Chang
- The Honorary Treasurer - Dr Sheetal Chavda
- The Chair of the SOM Council - Dr Victoria Mason
- Other Trustees - Professor Neil Greenberg, Dr Jayne Moore and Jonathan Gawthrop
The Board has established a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, reporting to the Board. Details below.
Patrons of the SOM
- The Rt Hon. the Lord David Blunkett
- Sir Norman Lamb
- Dame Carol Black
- Lord Popat
SOM is a core stakeholder on the Joint DWP/DHSC Employers, Health and Inclusive Employment (EHIE) Directorate Task and Finish Group, is a NICE stakeholder, engages with consultations such as the NMC Post Registration Standards, is a member of the OH HSE Liaison group and the Council for Work & Health. It works closely with the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, with joint UEMS representation, an annual conference and awards committee. SOM is a founder member of the International Occupational Medicine Society Collaborative.
- Trustees’ report and financial statements for the year 2017
- Trustees' report and financial statements for the year 2018
- Trustees' report and financial statements for the year 2019
- Trustees' report and financial statements for the year 2020
- Trustees' report and financial statements for the year 2021
- Trustees' report and financial statements for the year 2022
Archived reports are available upon request.
Our charity status
The Society of Occupational Medicine is a registered charity in England and Wales no 1184142, and a registered Scottish Charity no SC049793.
The Golden Jubilee Award was set up to fund a travelling fellowship for Society members.
1935: A small group of doctors formed the Association of Industrial Medical Officers. The twenty founder members included Leonard Lockhart of Boots, Howard Mummery of Lyons and Donald Stewart of ICI Metals. They were enthusiastic about the scope of medical services in the workplace and saw them as an important contribution to both the health of the nation and the viability of the enterprises for which they worked. From the start their interest was the improvement of industrial health practice for the benefit of the employees, the enterprise and themselves.
Lockhart presented the paper at the inaugural meeting on 'The Future of Occupational Medicine'. He identified industrial medicine as a function of management, stressed the need to extend services or face extinction, and noted the economic benefits of treatment in the workplace, all issues which remain contentious to this day.
1938: The constitution was written with a clear and simple statement: 'To form a group of medical men and women engaged in the practice of Industrial Medicine in any of its branches for the purpose of scientific study, social intercourse and mutual help.'
1965: The Association of Industrial Medical Officers became the Society of Occupational Medicine.
2010: The Society celebrated its 75th anniversary and undertook the biggest review in its history.
2012: Associated healthcare practitioners engaged in improving working age health became eligible to join from 2012. The change has been instigated to reflect modern working practices where many different groups of professionals are now involved in improving the health of the UK’s workforce.
SOM is a leading voice on occupational health and wellbeing of people at work in the UK and around the world. SOM develops policy positions on occupational health and wellbeing in the workplace, consulting with members in the process. We also regularly meet and write to ministers and pose parliamentary questions. Governments and other bodies also regularly consult SOM on policy issues relating to occupational health. Examples of policy responses are here:
- The NHS Long term plan
- The Taylor review of modern working practices
- Mayor of London's good work standard
- SOM Position statement on testing for COVID-19
- SOM Response to Health is everyone's business consultation
In 2021, SOM welcomed the Health is everyone's business consultation response and as part of the levelling up agenda, SOM is calling for universal access to occupational health. SOM's position as to how this could be achieved is here. There is a recording of a recent summit on Universal Access to Occupational Health here: part 1, part 2, part 3. Slides 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (the event was covered by Personnel Today here).
A report on the mental health of nurses and midwives was launched in 2020, following a report on the mental health of doctors in 2018. SOM also works with a range of international networks and partners including the International Occupational Medicine Society Collaborative (see www.iomsc.net), ICOH and the World Health Organization. A position paper on remote working will be launched in 2020.
Recent Past Presidents
- Dr R Cordell - 2015/6
- Dr S Coomber - 2016/7
- Dr P Williams - 2017/8
- Dr D McLoughlin - 2018/9
- Dr W Ponsonby - 2019/20
- Prof A Harriss - 2020/21
- Dr Jayne Moore - 2021/22
- Dr Shriti Pattani - 2022/23
View full list of Past Presidents here.
Diversity and Inclusion Task Force
SOM launched this Task Force, reporting to the Board, in 2020. It is chaired by Dr Sheetal Chavda. Emma Persand is vice chair.
The Task Force has produced an inclusion directory (on the members website) and carried out unconscious bias training for Board members. Discussions have occurred across SOM key groups on this issue. Links have been made with a number of organisations such as the BMA and the King's Fund. Presentations have occurred at a PHE/SOM webinar and a number of national conferences. As an organisation, SOM has carried out a self-assessment to ensure inclusion of our diverse membership in all services and activities.
SOM's Statement of Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion is here.
Minutes of the meetings are as follows:
- 22nd October 2020
- 18th November 2020
- 27th January 2021
- 2nd March 2021
- 13th April 2021
- 13th May 2021
- 1st July 2021
- 9th December 2021
- 3rd February 2022
- 31st March 2022