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New health and work service will offer physio opportunities

12 February 2014 - 3:28pm

A service intended to get employees back to work more quickly could open up new job opportunities for many physiotherapists, according to officials at the Department for Work and Pensions.

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CSP professional adviser Léonie Dawson: 'We are keen to support training to make the service a success.'

The Health and Work Service is due to be launched in England and Wales later this year. It was flagged up by the media last weekend as the latest government figures revealed high rates of long-term sickness absence.

As many as 960,000 employees in England were on sick leave for a month or more each year on average from October 2010 to September 2013.

The service will help employees who have been absent through sickness for four weeks to return to work and support employers to manage sickness absence in their workforces more effectively. Both GPs and employers will be able to refer employees to the service.

A tendering process for the contract is due to be announced shortly, which will include opportunities for physiotherapists.

Karen Middleton, CSP chief executive, welcomed the plan. She said: ‘This new service has the potential to stop minor conditions from becoming long-term problems by providing early access to treatment.’

But she added: ‘If someone is unable to work, forcing them back before they are ready will only cause their condition to worsen and require a longer period of absence.’

Léonie Dawson, CSP professional adviser, said the society welcomed the proposal for physiotherapists to play a key role key in the assessment and advice service.

‘We are keen to support appropriate, identified training needs to make the service a success,’ she said.

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