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Society welcomes government promise on NHS staff health

30 November 2009 - 10:45am

The CSP has welcomed the government’s pledge to implement an independent expert’s ‘groundbreaking’ proposals to improve the health and well-being of NHS staff.

Occupational health specialist and former GP Dr Steve Boorman published the final report of his review of the health and well-being of NHS employees last month.

He called for all NHS staff to receive comprehensive, ‘proactive’ health and well-being services as part of initiatives to cut staff sickness and absence that could save the NHS up to £555 million a year.

He said NHS staff should have consistent access to early and effective interventions for common musculoskeletal and mental health conditions, the major causes of ill health. Dr Boorman also insisted these services ‘should allow for self referral, rather than just management referral’.

CSP chief executive Phil Gray praised this emphasis and the government's support for the recommendations. But he said ministers must ensure strategic health authorities and primary care trusts make the necessary early investment in specialist physiotherapy to deliver results.

Phil Gray added: ‘Access to physiotherapy services when needed will mean less sickness absence for NHS staff. For patients it will mean fewer cancellations and delays, and better continuity of care.’

Health secretary Andy Burnham said he was committed to helping NHS organisations with implementation.

Dr Boorman recommended there should be nationally agreed standards for early intervention. As well as providing core health and well-being services, trusts should draw up strategies focused on prevention and assess individuals’ specific needs. Dr Boorman said: ‘Staff engagement will be critical to ensuring that both the range of services and the way in which they are provided are seen as credible, and to addressing staff concerns.’ His earlier interim report, published in August, laid out the business case for further investment.

CSP director of employment relations and union services Lesley Mercer said the Society would be working with other unions through the Social Partnership Forum and NHS staff council health and safety committee to ensure the recommendations were implemented.

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