The Fit for Work advice service which offers expert and impartial work-related health advice, is now live.
Fit for Work is for anyone who needs free and impartial advice, including employers, GPs and employees. It is designed to support people in work with health conditions and to help with sickness absence.
Research suggests that being out of work
for long periods of time is damaging to people’s health and their social and financial well-being and that the longer someone is off sick, the harder it is for them to get back to work.
Advice is available over the phone as well as via the Fit for Work website.
Employees will soon be able to benefit from referrals to a health professional when they have been off sick for four weeks or more while employers could start to receive Return to Work Plans which will act as fit notes.
Fit for Work is intended to complement, not replace, existing occupational health provision. It should be particularly beneficial to smaller businesses that have not previously had access to occupational health advice.
There will be a phased rollout of the referral service over a period of months before Fit for Work is available nationwide. There will be more details of the rollout early in 2015 but people can sign up now to receive updates or get prepared by reading the guidance.
Fit for Work, which was known as the Health and Work Service, is being delivered in England and Wales by Health Management Ltd and in Scotland by the Scottish Government via NHS Scotland. In Scotland the service is called Fit for Work Scotland.