Fit for Work has now gone live in North Yorkshire and Humber. This means that all GPs in these areas are able to start referring employed people if they have been, or are likely to be, off work for four weeks or more with their consent.
Each year *11 million workers in the UK experience sickness absence. Almost a million of these people end up being absent for at least a month or more and research shows that, without the proper support, a high proportion will fail to return to their jobs resulting in a loss of earnings for them. Fit for Work is voluntary and offers free and confidential work-related health advice providing a vital line of support for workers wanting to return back to work.
With individuals collectively estimated to miss out on **£4 billion a year through lost earnings, a service such as this offers a practical approach, for those likely to find they are unable to return to work due to ill health. Fit for Work is impartial and will provide much needed support for the ***hundreds of thousands of employees in North Yorkshire and Humber who might find themselves off sick and struggling to return back to work.
Now employees in Hull can speak to a GP about being referred or contact the Fit for Work advice line. Within two working days of a referral, the employee will receive an in-depth assessment with a health professional; this will usually take place over the phone to explore health, work and personal factors that might be preventing the person from returning to work.
Dr Dan Roper NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group Chair said:
“Fit for Work is a welcome and innovative project which attempts to speed and facilitate the return to work for patients who have been off work for four weeks. Many organisations do not have an occupational health service and it can sometimes be difficult for GPs to fully assess patients’ functionality in relation to their occupation. This new system makes it much easier and smoother.”
Referral to Fit for Work is currently only available through GPs but employers are encouraged to signpost eligible employees to their GPs. Employers will also be able to refer their employees in the autumn once the gradual roll out for GPs has been completed.
For media enquiries please contact the Fit for Work PR team:
- Thomas Skinner on 0207 089 6121
- Hannah Tella on 0207 089 6123
- Or email FitforWork@munroforster.com