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New role for allied health professionals in helping people back to work

CSP press release published on 5 March 2013

Employers and GPs are set to benefit from a new assessment report which enables Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, chiropodists and podiatrists to play their part in getting people who are ill, injured or recovering from treatment back to work at an early stage, or from going off sick in the first place.

Launched today (March 5), the new Allied Health Professions (AHP) Advisory Fitness for Work Report (AHP Fitness Report) has been designed to complement the existing Statement of Fitness for Work, which GPs use to determine whether patients can remain in work, or need to be signed off.

The report, which was developed by The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), the College of Occupational Therapists and the Society of Chiropody and Podiatrists, will help GPs and employers to focus on what a patient can do at work as part of their rehabilitation after illness, injury or recovery from treatment.

CSP professional adviser, Léonie Dawson, who led the project on behalf of the organisation said: ‘The AHP Fitness Report aims to help people remain engaged with work and prevent the slide into reliance on benefits. It can provide evidence to employers for sick pay purposes and advice on how to help staff get back to work sooner.

‘It’s an ideal opportunity for physiotherapists and other AHPs with expertise in occupational health to support people in using work as part of their rehabilitation.’

Leading the project for the College of Occupational Therapists, Julia Skelton, director of professional operations said: ‘This advisory assessment report will identify how occupational therapists can help someone overcome physical and mental difficulties to return to a productive working life. This will help reduce the costs of sickness absence, support employers and importantly improve the health and wellbeing of the working population.

Sharon Gray, professional and private practice officer, who led the project for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists said: 'The AHP Advisory Fitness for Work Report will enable podiatrists to advise, following treatment or a procedure, that either their patients should be off work, or encourage patients back to work, but with amended duties.’

While employees will still require a Statement of Fitness for Work from a doctor to claim ill health benefits, the new AHP Fitness Report provides an opportunity for AHPs to assist GPs, employers and patients by:

  • Highlighting to employers how to help support staff affected by illness, injury or recovery from treatment to enable them to stay in employment
  • Giving employees a better understanding of their condition to help them structure return to work discussions with their employer
  • Offering GPs a report on which to base the provision of a Statement of Fitness for Work to the employee.

The Department for Work and Pensions is keen to encourage Allied Health Professionals to use the Report as a useful resource to support people to stay in and/or return to work.

For further details, visit: http://www.ahpf.org.uk/AHP_Advisory_Fitness_for_Work_Report.htm

For media enquiries please call the CSP press office on 020 7306 1111, the College of Occupational Therapists press office on 020 7450 5229 or the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrist’s press office on 0845 450 3724. Out of hours please call Jennie Edmondson, CSP head of press and PR on 07786 332197.

Notes to editors

  • AHP’s are physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, radiographers, prosthetists and orthotists, podiatrists, paramedics, orthoptists, occupational therapists, dietitians and arts therapists.
  • The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is the UK’s professional, educational and trade union body. We have more than 51,000 members, including chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and support workers.
  • The College of Occupational Therapists is the UK’s professional body for around 30,000 Occupational Therapists and support staff. We promote the value of Occupational Therapy for the benefit of the health and wellbeing of UK citizens and strive for excellence in Occupational Therapy education, professional development, research and evidence based practice.
  • The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists is the leading trade union and professional body for registered chiropodists and podiatrists in the UK. In short, they’re the UK’s experts for everything and anything to do with feet. Podiatry (also known as chiropody) is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and other disorders of the feet and associated structures.

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