Category Archives: News

WHU Consultation – Health is everyone’s business, proposals to reduce ill-health related job loss

WHU Consultation – Health is everyone’s business, proposals to reduce ill-health related job loss

Council for Work and Health members have actively contributed to the extensive research and debate resulting in this welcomed consultation initiative.  It is disappointing that many UK workers, particularly in small businesses, but even in large employers such as the NHS, have inconsistent access to good quality occupational health support when ill.  This exercise seeks to test ideas to enable more workers to get support when needed and hence reduce the numbers that face being unable to work due to resolvable issues. Council members will actively respond to this consultation and we urge as many as possible to contribute to this vital debate and support opportunity for change.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/health-is-everyones-business-proposals-to-reduce-ill-health-related-job-loss

Consultation link:

https://getinvolved.dwp.gov.uk/work-and-health/consultation/

 

No Time To Lose (IOSH Campaign)

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Did you know that worldwide at least 38,000 people die every year from mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-related cancer?

These deaths cause so much heartbreak and suffering. They leave huge holes in families; ones that can never be filled. Asbestos fibres are invisible to the naked eye, therefore it is so important for people to know where asbestos can be found, so these deaths can be prevented.

Taking place tomorrow, (05 July), Action Mesothelioma Day, brings together patients, carers, families and local dignitaries in Britain for services of remembrance and hope, commemorating the thousands of lives lost to mesothelioma. The day is organised by No Time to Lose (NTTL) supporter Mesothelioma UK.

To mark this important day, we will be attending the service at Leicester Cathedral to support Mesothelioma UK and to exhibit our new co-branded pocket cards. We are also joining forces with the international Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization by sharing resources through its Know Asbestos campaign website.

You can get involved in Action Mesothelioma Day too by:

  • downloading and distributing our free resources, to raise awareness of the risks.
  • signing-up to our pledge (if you haven’t already), to capture the key actions your organisation does, or plans to do, to manage carcinogenic exposures at work. Once your pledge has been approved, we will send you an IOSH certificate demonstrating your commitment.
  • supporting NTTL by communicating the campaign through your communications channels
  • following @_NTTL on Twitter and retweeting our tweets to help spread the word.

Many thanks for your continued support. Together we can beat occupational cancer.

Injustices faced by disabled people to be tackled head-on through a new package of measures ordered by the Prime Minister

Injustices faced by disabled people to be tackled head-on through a new package of measures ordered by the Prime Minister.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-launches-new-drive-to-tackle-barriers-faced-by-disabled-people

As part of her legacy as Prime Minister, Theresa May launched a package of cross departmental measures to “change the landscape for disabled people and to make sure there is always a level playing field for them”.  There are a range of proposals intended to “support disabled people in all phases of their life so that the pursuit of equality is a shared goal.”  These include higher accessibility standards for new housing, an overhaul of statutory sick pay, and greater workplace support to help ensure disabled people can fully participate in society.

Although the whole package of measures is important for the members of the Council for Work and Health, one of the most direct concerns “New employee rights to request workplace modifications on health grounds”.  We expect the detail of this to link to our resources on Workplace Modifications.  Dr Steve Boorman, Chair of the Council welcomed the announcement saying “Council Members have actively contributed to the “Improving Lives” agenda across all of its programmes. We look forward to supporting the opportunities, trailed in this announcement, to help support individuals in accessing good work and the health benefits this creates”.

 

 

Work Modifications wins an award!

Work Modifications wins an award

The Council for Work and Health is delighted that the Talking Work project has won the Vocational Rehabilitation  Association’s (VRA) Innovation, Research and Education Award for 2019.   The lead researcher Dr Devdeep Ahuja received the award during the VRA symposium on 1st May 2019 at Birmingham.

In supporting the nomination, Richard Cienciala, Deputy Director, DWP/DHSC Work and Health Unit praised the collaborative approach taken by the Council and commented that the “Talking Work” checklist “should be an invaluable tool to support doctors in their work-related conversations and in advising on reasonable adjustments.”

 

https://vrassociationuk.com/vra-awards-2019-winners-gallery/

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS! Talking Work

Talking Work – the Council for Work and Health’s online resource for GPs to help them complete Fit Notes is the subject of a newly published (paid) news story on GP online – the everyday resource for general practitioners and the website for GP magazine. Talking Work was developed with funding from the government’s Work and Health Unit as part of their 2017 Command Paper strategy to enable one million additional people with disability or long term illness to return to or remain in work.

To view the article click link

Preparing for a Wellbeing Programme – A case study from Defence

Martin Short, Head of Wellbeing, Diversity and Inclusion. MoD Business Unit

In July 2018, following an 18-month secondment to the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, I returned to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to design a wellbeing programme for a large MoD business unit of some 5000 staff spread over a number of different locations.

The organisation had never had a centrally coordinated wellbeing programme so, while I had considerable freedom of action, there were three big challenges to overcome before we could move forward.

The first challenge was that, as an organisation, we had no common understanding of what ‘wellbeing’ actually meant – or why it was important to both individuals and organisations. The second was that our wellbeing-related data was low grade and unsuitable for taking an evidence-based approach. Finally, while many staff were doing great work at local level, they worked in isolation and we had no joined up wellbeing community.

To tackle these challenges I designed a ‘start-up’ phase made up of three core activities which we called – Educate, Measure and Connect.

Educate

It is impossible to hold meaningful conversations about any topic if it means different things to different people, so I spent four months visiting every site and delivering over thirty ‘Wellbeing Awareness Briefs’. It didn’t matter so much what our wellbeing concept was, but it was important that we shared the same one. These one-hour presentations covered:

  • Wellbeing: What it is and why it matters to both individuals AND organisations.
  • What we know about Wellbeing across the life course and the factors that exert influence.
  • Wellbeing in the Workplace – the role of individuals, managers and leaders. This general approach is illustrated well in theACAS  Mental Health at Work Framework.

Measure

The annual Civil Service People Survey gives some insights into wellbeing but lacks detail, so we augmented it with data from another survey tool – a workplace wellbeing diagnostic tool developed by the What Works Centre for Wellbeing. This higher resolution data allowed us to diagnose where our main workplace wellbeing issues lay and also created a benchmark from which we could measure our progress as we started to take action.

One of the most interesting findings came from a graphic that we called the ‘Heatmap’. This plotted how far our different sites were from the organisational average for each of the five ‘drivers’ of workplace wellbeing measured by the tool. As can be seen from the heatmap below, not one of our sites has the same wellbeing experience – and the military and civilian experience is often profoundly different – even at the same site. This suggested that, for our organisation at least, a ‘one size fits all’ strategy would probably be ineffective. It also led us to the conclusion that the best model for our needs involved a light central structure which measures, monitors and advises, with evidence-informed action being delegated to local leadership and wellbeing networks.

Connect

The final preparatory activity was termed ‘Connect’. While I knew there were many staff doing great work at local level (Mental Health First Aiders, Mindfulness groups, Peer Support Groups, Sports Clubs etc.) we had no central visibility of what was actually happening locally. The Connect activity was simply a gathering together of information about what wellbeing and mental health related initiatives were happening and where.

What did we achieve?

Our three preliminary activities have allowed us to do a number of things:

  • Develop a shared understanding of what wellbeing means to us as an organisation – so our future conversations are better informed and make sense to staff.
  • Diagnose our main wellbeing challenges and establish a data benchmark from which we can measure progress when we run the survey again.
  • Complete an audit of the wellbeing-related resources we already have and identify and connect our pan-organisation wellbeing network.
  • Helped us understand the significant impact of local issues on staff wellbeing, thus guiding us towards appropriate governance structures.

The next phase will be the analysis of those issues that we wish to address at organisation level, followed by the generation of local action plans to address the needs identified at our different sites. At present we are planning to re-run the survey in late 2020 to check our progress.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Civil Service or the Ministry of Defence.

The SOM has a wellbeing special interest group. To view the slides from the most recent meeting, please click on the links below:An Evidence-based Approach to Understanding Workplace Wellbeing Challenges Supporting healthy high performance

https://www.som.org.uk/preparing-wellbeing-programme-case-study-defence`