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NHS England says trusts can access £450m fund to cut MSK staff sickness

18 August 2016 - 11:46am

New guidance from NHS England could help trusts access a £450 million fund designed to provide staff with health and wellbeing services, including physiotherapy.

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Karen Middleton said it would be a missed opportunity if trusts don’t take advantage of the CQUIN funding

The Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) payment fund was announced last autumn by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens.

The latest guidance says that trusts could apply for CQUIN funding so staff can access physiotherapy. It wants them to address sickness absence due to musculoskeletal (MSK) problems, the main causes of sickness absence in the health service.

Across the NHS in England, 40 per cent of long-term sickness absence can be attributed to an MSK condition, the document says.

The 2015 NHS staff survey reported that, on average, 25 per cent of NHS staff had experienced MSK issues due to work related activities in the last 12 months. This amounts to a total of some 325,000 staff.

Early and reliable access to a physiotherapist has been shown to be one of the most effective forms of intervention to deal with MSK conditions within the workplace, the document says.

In addition to improving access to physiotherapy, NHS organisations could use the funding to implement initiatives such as pain management workshops, back care workshops and workplace ergonomics.

Karen Middleton, CSP chief executive, said: ‘It would be a missed opportunity if trusts don’t take advantage of the funds being made available by NHS England.’

Jenny Nissler, CSP professional adviser, urged members to take a look at the guidance and discuss it with their managers.

The document also advises NHS organisations that staff who self-refer tend to be more proactive in self-managing their condition.

‘NHS workplaces across the country are demonstrating how self-referral to physiotherapy schemes for staff can reduce sickness rates, improve productivity and save money,’ added Ms Middleton.

‘Additionally, investing in staff is crucial to providing the high quality care patients deserve.’

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