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Scottish government launches £1.5 million fast access to fit for work pilot

27 November 2009 - 3:35pm

The Scottish Government is to spend £1.5 million on a country-wide pilot scheme to provide rapid access to physiotherapy and other healthcare services for Scotland’s working age population.

The scheme, one of 10 UK fit for work pilots announced earlier in the autumn, will form part of the Scottish Government’s strategy for reducing sickness among workers, Health Works, which was unveiled last month.

Direct reference to physiotherapy

Details of how the pilot will work have yet to be agreed, but the scheme will include a national telephone advice line that will triage calls and either offer advice or refer directly to services including physiotherapy. A fit for work service will be established in each of the 14 Scottish health board areas, focusing mainly on small and medium-sized businesses that do not have their own occupational health service, and on workers in low-paid employment.

Aims of strategy

Health Works aims to improve the health of those in work in order to help them remain employed, and provide support for unemployed people, or those on long-term sick leave, to help them back into work. The programme will also include a ‘Scottish offer’, which defines the services, and quality of services, that people with health problems can expect to access in getting back to work.

Links with self referral for MS services

The government’s Delivery Framework for Adult Rehabilitation team will look at links between the pilot and proposals that self referral for musculoskeletal physiotherapy could be centralised through NHS 24, the Scottish online and telephone information and self-care advice service (see our Frontline story Scottish proposals for MS services 'exciting'). CSP policy officer for Scotland, Kenryck Lloyd-Jones said: 'The Scotland-wide Fit For Work programme is a welcome and innovative scheme that will demonstrate the value of physiotherapy in helping people stay in work and return to work more quickly.'

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