Removing silos in occupational health

Providing physiotherapy within occupational health services has been misunderstood and underutilised for many years, says Clare Henson-Bowen

Clare Henson Bowen
Clare HensonBowen, CEO and principal physiotherapist at Bespoke Wellbeing

Occupational health (OH) has historically been provided by specialist nurses and doctors in the field. However, more and more allied health professional roles are popping up to support the multidisciplinary team (MDT).

My own experience is that the MDT continues to work and train in silos, with OH professionals perhaps being confused about how physiotherapy fits into the wider OH provision. 

But this is all about to change, and quite frankly, it needs to change.

iOH has been established for over 30 years with 900 voices supporting professional and career development

In November 2022, the iOH – The Association of Occupational Health and Wellbeing Professionals – announced that they were extending their board positions to include allied health professionals. This is a huge step forwards in widening the MDT representation in the association as it continues to rapidly grow.

In December 2022, I was the first physiotherapist voted on to the board as the ‘assistant director of physiotherapy members. 

I am hopeful that my role on the board will help to:

  • raise awareness and career opportunities in OH to AHPs.
  • break the silos within OH and wellbeing to create collaborative learning and services across clinical specialisms.
  • scope the specific OH learning needs AHPs may have and how this interlinks to wide iOH continuing professional development (CPD) programmes.
  • support member CPD for MSK, display screen equipment/ergonomics, and functional capacity testing to support a return to work.

iOH is a training and research-based community in the field of occupational health and wellbeing that has been established for over 30 years. We are over 900 voices supporting professional and career development. Membership of iOH is £10 a year and is free for a year for students.  To find out more about the association here.

Clare Henson-Bowen, CEO and principal physiotherapist at Bespoke Wellbeing

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