Dont have an account?Sign up here
17 January 2013
The government has today published its response to Health at work – an independent review of sickness absence. Responding, Professor Stephen Bevan of The Work Foundation and the campaigning coalition, Fit For Work UK, said:
“We welcome the government’s response to the Sickness Absence Review, as the declining health of the UK’s ageing workforce is likely to be a threat to productivity and economic growth for at least the next thirty years. The Fit for Work Coalition has a special interest in the thousands of UK workers who have musculoskeletal health problems, which cost the economy at least £7 billion each year and cause at least £10 million lost working days each year.
“The proposal to introduce a health and work assessment advisory service to support workers, GPs and employers after the fourth week of sickness absence is especially welcome. Our research shows that early intervention is the best way of helping people to stay in, or return to work. However, we are disappointed that the response fails to align incentives in the healthcare and welfare systems. Specifically, GPs in the new Clinical Commissioning Group (CCGs) are not being incentivised to consider work as a clinical outcome.
“Also, employment is not included in the Commissioning Outcomes Framework (COF), which will guide the way they treat and refer their patients. Up to 30 per cent of GP consultations relate to musculoskeletal conditions. We are concerned that if GPs have no incentive to consider how staying in work can benefit their patients, the aspiration of the government to reduce sickness absence and increase productivity may be at risk.”