SOM welcomes the Government’s consultation on improving health at work alongside proposed changes to improve statutory sick pay. We welcome the focus this consultation brings to the importance of quality OH services, amongst measures to secure improved employee health, and productivity, particularly enabling those with long term health conditions and disabilities to remain in work if they wish to do so.
We also welcome the recognition that occupational health professionals are uniquely placed to enhance the productivity of the nation while keeping workers healthy and safe. We are pleased that the consultation recognises the lack of access to occupational health (OH) services, which are currently provided only to around half of all employees. We hope following the consultation steps are taken to build capacity and rapid access to modern occupational health advice, particularly doctors and nurses; There is a serious shortage of specialists in occupational medicine; in the NHS alone, numbers of consultants have declined from 80 to 60 over the past two years.
SOM welcomes investment in occupational health for small businesses and we urge the Government to invest in occupational health professionals to allow this scale up to occur. SOM agrees with the consultations’ focus on encouraging employers to support employees with health issues and applying the evidence base around what works in getting people back to work.
We note the strong evidence base for occupational health in return to work. SOM is working with research funders to secure investment in the co-ordination and funding of academic research to provide answers to key questions related to workplace health. It is also calling for a Centre for Work and Health.
To read our full response to the consultation, please click here.
 Health, work and wellbeing – evidence and research https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/health-work-and-wellbeing-evidence-and-research