Health and Work Support pilot helps Fifers to retain their jobs
Health and Work Support, a Scottish Government initiative delivered by NHS Fife, is a two-year pilot project which addresses the need for early support to enable more people to stay in employment in the Kingdom.
The initiative, which launched in 2018, aims to make it easier for those who need support to get help as soon as possible in order to remain at their current place of work or move into sustainable employment.
It provides a simpler way for people to get the appropriate advice and support with the goal of reducing health-related absenteeism and job loss as well as improving productivity.
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Health and Work Support is a free and confidential service for people living or working in Fife, aged 16 and over. It supports both those who are in work and absent.
Alister Hynie, project lead with Health and Work Support, explained: “There is lots of help that is available out there for people with health issues that are struggling at work, or to get back into work, but not everyone is using the help available.
“The reason for this is you never think about it.
“We get up in the morning, commute to our place of work and never wonder what would happen if it all went wrong and we couldn’t work anymore.
“You don’t think about this until it happens, so who do we turn to?
“Everyone with health issues has their own boundaries and criteria; trying to find the right support can be disheartening.
“The idea is if you ring our 0800 number, or go to our website, you will come through to us and if you live or work in Fife we will be able to access the right help for you.”
Alister explained how Work and Health Support will deliver support to people in Fife.
“We access external support, in the third or public sector, or we will buy it in if we need to, with the aim to provide fast access that will do enough to get you back into your working role.
“The service is for anyone who lives or works in Fife, aged 16 and over.
“Whether you have a physical or mental health issue or a disability and are struggling to stay at work, to get back to work, or to access work, we can offer help.”
The project offers an in-depth evaluation to help people manage their health, and offers a wide range of support including occupational therapy, physiotherapy and counselling services.
Paula Donaldson-Inglis, team lead with the Health and Work Support project, said: “We offer a 20-week telephone case management program, but we also see people face-to-face as well.
“We do a full biopsycho-social assessment. This is where we look at the problems that someone is experiencing in terms of their health, as well as any social issues that someone might be dealing with, and we also address any psychological problems too.
“In addition, as allied health professionals we can do what is known as the health and work report, this is a report that we write for the client to take to an employer or their GP that identifies what their difficulties are and what reasonable recommendations might be required for them to get back into the workplace.”
After the client has been fully assessed the Health and Work Support team then come up with an action plan that is tailored to the client’s specific needs.
“There is a lot of networking that goes on, we find out what would benefit our clients and direct them to services that are able to help them and support them to get back to work.
“We are very much that link that connects all these services together.
“Anyone who is off work or anyone who is struggling with a health issue doesn’t have to knock on lots of different doors.
“They can come directly to us access a myriad of lots of different services.”
Paula added that Health and Work Support also provides support for employers to help create a healthier work environment.
She concluded: “We provide information to businesses, via Healthy Working Lives.
“Our workplace team is happy to go out and meet with employers.
“They offer free training in areas such as mental health awareness and healthy workplace training.”
To speak to one of the health care professionals at Health and Work Support call 0800 019 2211 or, for more information, visit the website at www.healthandworksupport.scot