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SOM’s key messages for the future Government

Posted by Ann Caluori | Thu, 30/05/2024 - 18:29


The next General Election will be held on 4th July. For many years, SOM has been collaborating closely with policymakers from all parties to advocate for occupational health (OH) and we will continue to do so post-Election, when a new Government is in place. The months leading up to an election often see MPs and candidates of all parties taking particular interest in the views of interest groups and wishing to engage. SOM is ready to speak with anyone wanting to learn about the importance of OH and the need for universal access and will also seek to facilitate site visits for MPs or candidates where possible, so they can experience the work of OH teams first-hand. The information in this briefing is for members to be informed about what SOM’s key messages are over the coming period, and to suggest ways members can help SOM to promote these if they wish.


SOM’s key messages for the future Government - attached

Key ask - Universal Access to Occupational Health Currently only 45% of UK workers have access to some form of OH.[1] Universal Access will boost the UK’s economy as it will reduce the number of people who are not in work due to ill health (this level has spiked by over 400k to over 2.6M since the pandemic).[2] A national Occupational Health strategy would cover:


Policy changes

  • Investment to support people stay and return to work, linking primary care with community assets, and work and pensions staff and occupational health in a tiered framework
  • Every local area to deliver a work and health strategy to strategically support people living with ill health return to work and stay in work
  • Reform of the fit note to support people quickly back to work through case note reviews and rapid access

OH workforce

  • An NHS workforce plan that builds a multidisciplinary occupational health workforce that can deliver occupational health advice across all workplaces
  • A National Director for Work and Health
  • Investment in NHS occupational health capacity to enable health and social care professionals to access the support they need to avoid sickness absence and work related mental ill health

Regulation for employers

  • A requirement for larger organisations to invest in workplace health, including occupational health

Investment in research

  • A National Centre for Work and Health for evidence generation to inform employers

What you can do

There are a few ways members can help SOM to use the opportunity of the General Election to promote the need for occupational health:

  1. Support SOM’s work to raise awareness of OH among policymakers and candidates in the coming months by engaging with social media posts. Likes and comments help posts to get seen by a wider audience.
  2. Let SOM know if you can help facilitate an OH site visit (this could be for candidates during the election campaign or sitting MPs in the run-up). Visits can be a high impact and memorable way to communicate what OH is for and its importance.
  3. Contact the candidates in your local constituency and raise with them the importance of OH for keeping people with health conditions in work and the need for universal access. They may be keen to engage, and it may establish a relationship which you can build on after the Election. You can contact candidates via social media, their personal websites, or at local hustings events.
  4. Tell SOM about any engagement you do in relation to the Election. SOM may be able to help amplify your messages or follow up with any new contacts made after the Election.