In November Health Secretary Matt Hancock launched a new health green paper – Prevention Is Better Than Cure – highlighting workplaces as the ideal platform for health promotion, and calling on employers to “help improve the health of their staff and the nation”. In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph prior to the launch, Hancock described employers as having “an increasingly large role to play in supporting employees when they are not well”, adding “other countries in Europe are much better than we are at this – at helping people to get back into the workforce.”

The green paper calls on employers to take “early, proactive action … to retain and reintegrate those who are struggling with their health, or who are off sick. Flexible adjustments to the workplace, working hours, or the job itself will also help people to thrive in the role”. Barclay’s proactive approach to disability and mental health issues includes a Workplace Adjustment Passport, enabling staff to record agreed adjustments, keeping their health an open and ongoing conversation.

The Faculty and Society of Occupational Medicine both supported the acknowledgement of employers’ roles in health promotion in the green paper, issuing a joint statement “Occupational health services, currently provided by some employers, can prevent work-related ill health, promote good health, and manage health conditions and rehabilitation. This promotes employee health and retention in employment. This improves workforce productivity and business performance.”

Your employees are your most valuable asset – supporting them with Occupational Health can lead to higher staff morale and lower sickness absence rates. A healthy workplace is a productive one.

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