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Black report likely to push UK-wide 'fit for work' health service

A UK-wide NHS-based 'fit for work' service to tackle the growing problem of workplace ill health is tipped to be among the recommendations of the first-ever review of the health of Britain's working population.

The results of the review, by Dame Carol Black, national director for health and work, were due to be published this week as Frontline went to press.

The CSP contributed to Dame Carol's work and is calling on the government to make physiotherapy central to what it regards as a much-needed NHS-based 'fit for work' service.

Phil Gray, CSP chief executive, said 'Dame Carol Black's review is a major step in the right direction and we are pleased to have been able to contribute to it. In order to tackle a serious public health issue like workplace health, welfare services must begin to focus on prevention as well as swift and effective treatment.'

He added that physios had an important role to play in leading on this agenda.  'Physiotherapists can provide the advice and treatment that will keep people in work and help people return to work, reducing sickness absenteeism and increasing productivity.

'We therefore urge the government to put physiotherapy services at the heart of a new NHS-based occupational health service.'

Gary Robjent, CSP head of public affairs and policy development, said that occupational health schemes existed but these were mostly found in large private organisations.

He said: 'We would like to see an arrangement where people have prompt access to physiotherapy within the NHS occupational health services to prevent or manage chronic conditions. This is where self–referral would be useful.'

Musculoskeletal disorders are among the most commonly reported causes of work-related ill health, affecting more than one million people. They cost Britain £7.4 billion a year and account for up to a third of all GP consultations. Research shows that prompt access to physiotherapy for people with MSDs can prevent the development of chronic conditions. 


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