Joint VRA OT Study Day - 1st May

Please click the link above for details of an upcoming study day run by the Vocational Rehabilitation Association and Royal College of Occupational Therapists 

Work Modification Guidance 

Dear Stakeholder,

Work and Health Unit commissioned resource to support GPs in identifying work modifications – user testing.

You will be aware from previous contacts and, or consultations, that the Work and Health Unit (WHU), as part of its “Improving Lives” strategic programme, has identified a need to provide additional support resources to Doctors, to help them in supporting patients to identify work adjustments to improve workability and improve recovery.

In 2017 the Work and Health Unit completed an internal review of the operation of the fit note – informed by the Improving Lives Green Paper consultation responses and extensive stakeholder engagement. The review concluded that the fit note remains an important tool, but it is not always used effectively across the system to support people staying in or returning to work. It is still the case that too many fit notes say ‘not fit for work’ when people ‘may be fit for work’ as long as appropriate workplace adjustments are made.

The Government is keen to promote that, when individuals consult with GPs, they will receive work-related advice and supportive engagement about workplace adjustments. This is based on the understanding that good work is good for health. It is the intention that doctors are supported in having these conversations and other parts of the strategic programme are undertaking work to support employers and employees in having the discussions to enable medical advice to result in positive agreed actions to enable working, where possible.

The Council for Work and Health was commissioned to research and develop this work and a dedicated researcher was used to review published literature, collate existing available resources and to develop content. Council members and other contacts have been actively consulted during this development process and much work has been done to date.

You will also be aware from recent consultation that work has been underway to revisit the “Work as a Clinical Outcome” consensus statement due for relaunch shortly. The “Work as a Clinical Outcome” consensus statement reminds all healthcare workers that such conversations are an important part of clinical practice.  This resource is primarily aimed at GPs to help support their medical consultations and consideration of “Fit note” options, and whilst this resource seeks to be used in a medical context we have tried to balance some clear advice that most work adjustments are simple and practical arrangements.

I would be grateful if you would share the link with your members and invite them to contribute to user testing this resource as part of its continued development – we are keen to understand views regarding its content, accessibility and usefulness. Accessing the link will trigger a short feedback survey which will be in place over the next month’s testing period. We will then take stock and evaluate the feedback in consultation with the Work and Health Unit in order to finalise a resource, which is planned to be freely accessible via the Council for Work and Health website from April 2019

This resource will not sit in isolation and many other converging programmes are also in development to support other health care practitioners, employees and employers to enable positive conversations on work options. We also recognise that different GPs will use resources in different ways and that levels of knowledge and capability may be variable.

It is also recognised that good quality occupational health advice may help support and work is being undertaken on how best to provide such.

This resource has been developed for use by doctors during their clinical consultations with patients, it is illustrated with some simple case studies and there may be opportunity to add to these later.

Next Steps

This is still work in progress, and the following link will give free access to the current version, which we are keen to now seek further feedback and evaluation upon.

If you follow the link it will take you to the Council for Work and Health’s website and the relevant resource page. The resource can be read from start to finish if preferred, but we anticipate users will jump to relevant sections, links or case studies and that in time we can provide more relevant linked content applicable to wider stakeholders. The evaluation resource will generate a simple survey on closing and we hope that you will feel able to share the link as widely as possible and encourage stakeholders to give feedback during the next month. After this period we will consider any necessary revisions and more formally plan to launch the web resource in March 19.

I know some stakeholders will feel that this resource risks medicalising the work and health conversation, once again the context, we are testing here, is for use in General Practice and to support patients in starting conversations where appropriate.

I hope you will feel able to contribute to this valuable work and I thank those who have already given time and energy to this project.

Best wishes

Dr Steven Boorman CBE

Chair Council for Work and Health


We welcome this month’s publication of the NHS Long Term Plan. It provides explicit recognition that the performance of any healthcare system depends upon its staff, the conditions under which they work and the support given to them in the workplace.

We are pleased to note the plan’s commitment to support Trusts to access fast-track Occupational Health (OH) services for their staff and to provide a development programme for line managers. Quality OH services and effective line management can make an important contribution to staff health, workplace productivity and NHS performance.   

The NHS Long Term Plan recognizes the important role that all employers have in supporting staff to stay healthy and in work. We welcome the commitment to increase access to OH across all sectors. However, we note that the proposals do depend upon employers’ willingness to fund these services.

The plan also recognizes the need for improved mental health support for doctors. This could be enhanced by linking such support to OH services, with their expertise in retaining healthcare staff in work. 

We believe that all NHS staff, not just doctors, should have access to quality-assured OH support, including clinical leadership from an accredited specialist in Occupational Medicine. NHS Employers recommends that OH services should enable and facilitate the following:

  • Prevention of ill health caused or exacerbated by work.
  • Timely intervention, including early treatment of the main causes of sickness absence in NHS staff.
  • Rehabilitation to help staff stay at work or return to work after illness.
  • Fitness for work assessments to support organisations to manage attendance and ill health retirement.
  • The promotion of health and wellbeing using work as a means of improving health and wellbeing, and using the workplace to promote health.
  • Training to promote staff health and wellbeing to managers.

We are disappointed that the plan does not include recognition of the support which OH could provide to NHS patients, as well as to staff. Our expertise in terms of rehabilitation and return to work could enhance better care for major health conditions, including those highlighted in the plan, musculoskeletal and mental health problems, cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. The health benefits of being in work are increasingly recognised. However, many people with disabilities and long term health conditions are currently excluded from work, as shown in the graph below. Most such individuals do not have access to OH services and this shortfall was not considered in the NHS Long Term Plan.

We would welcome the opportunity to work with NHS England to improve access to OH services for both NHS staff and patients. One potential model would involve stepped access to OH teams, with referral to accredited specialists in Occupational Medicine for those with the most complex problems. We hope to continue our effective working relationship with Public Health England, and the Work and Health Unit at DHSC and DWP.  We intend to continue to promote being in work as a health outcome. These initiatives will support the Long Term Plan to deliver a sustainable NHS.

Additional Background  Your Occupational Service 2013, Podcast 2017

Occupational Health: The Global Evidence and Value - for information on the value proposition for occupational health

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine is the professional and educational body for occupational medicine in the United Kingdom. It seeks to ensure the highest standards in the practice of occupational medicine, overseeing the continuing professional development and revalidation of its members. It is also focused on promoting and supporting health at work, with its mission statement being ‘to drive improvement in the health of the working age population.  

The Society of Occupational Medicine is the UK organisation for all healthcare professionals working in or with an interest in occupational health.   It is concerned with the protection of the health of people in the workplace, the prevention of occupational injuries and disease and related environmental issues.

NHS Health at Work is the network of occupational health teams dedicated to ensuring that the NHS has a healthy, motivated workforce that can provide the best possible patient care. We also provide a gateway for businesses in the broader community who are seeking occupational health advice and support.

President FOM           President SOM           Chair NHS Health at Work Network

For further information, please contact Nick Pahl, Tel 0203 478 1047


First IFPTOHE General meeting

RE: Two pre-WCPT-congress events to be at the Geneva Physical Therapy School on the morning of Thursday May 9th, 2019

  1. Networking session
  2. First International Federation of Physical Therapists working in Occupational Heath (IFPTOHE)  General Meeting

To attend the pre-congress networking session and/or the first IFPTOHE General Meeting in Geneva please respond at your earliest convenience via , the survey monkey closes February 1st, 2019.

Attendance will be restricted by room size – we have room for ~ 40 participants.

Acceptance to the:

  • Networking session will be granted in order of acceptance via survey monkey.
  • First IFPTOHE General meeting will be prioritized to include the official representative from each Proposed Member Organisation, and is likely to be limited to two persons per country if all countries are represented.

For the full agenda please click here or visit the WCPT website

There are eight nominations for seven Executive Committee positions, to be voted upon at the first General Meeting including Nicola Suckley committee member of ACPOHE.



Membership Structure update - Please read

At our recent study day in November the change in Membership structure was discussed and agreed.  This now means that we will be introducing a new structure to our membership which now includes a Technical membership. 

This document lays out what the current structure looks like, current benefits and fees and the proposed changes and additional benefits associated with this for members.

Why change the current structure?

1) The overall aim is to improve the quality, skills and competency within Occupational Health Physiotherapy and ensure all members have a basic skill set to be able to work within this specialism.

2) Promote the profession within this speciality. 

3) Raise the bar.

4) Become more aligned to other Occupational Health Professional memberships and organisations.

Please send any feedback to


Pay and Grading Guidance 2018

The latest Pay and Grading guidance can be found by following the link above. 

Pay and Grading Survey Results

Please click here for the results of a recent Pay and Grading survey that we undertook with our members.


Latest Horizon Scanning now out

For the latest news in OH and Healthcare field, click here!