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Improving Occupational Health provision – DWP launches consultation
In a significant move to enhance workplace support and employee well-being, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a consultation on occupational health provision titled “Occupational Health: Working Better.”
The consultation, initiated on 20 July 2023, seeks to address the crucial roles of the government, employers, and occupational health (OH) providers in improving the coverage and quality of OH services across the UK. By fostering collaboration and partnership, the DWP aims to boost productivity and prevent ill-health related unemployment, making employee health a priority in the modern workforce.
The consultation is divided into three chapters:
Voluntary Proposals for Employers
One of the key aspects of the consultation revolves around voluntary proposals for employers. The DWP seeks views on introducing a national “health at work” standard, aiming to ensure that employees receive consistent and adequate support regardless of their workplace. Furthermore, the consultation explores the sharing of best practices and the development of new and consolidated guidance to further enhance OH services. Employers may also have the option to pursue accreditation, demonstrating their commitment to prioritising the health of their workforce.
Learning from International Comparators
The consultation seeks insights into international comparators to understand how successful models from other nation could help the UK identify effective solutions to address the relatively low uptake of OH provision among employers. Notably, the DWP aims to evaluate the potential benefits of introducing a legislative framework that outlines clear requirements for employers regarding OH services.
Developing Work and Health Workforce Capacity
The DWP seeks views on enhancing the existing OH workforce and establishing a sustainable multidisciplinary OH workforce in collaboration with the private sector. This includes strategies to attract more talent to the OH sector, with the introduction of new models of care and establishing pathways for working in a multidisciplinary OH sector under consideration.
The DWP’s consultation on “Occupational Health: Working Better” represents a significant step towards prioritising employee well-being to address concerns about the levels of economic inactivity amongst the working-age population. The DWP hopes that a collaborative approach that could see a more consistent OH offering will assist employers in retaining and returning employees to the workplace.
The consultation will remain open until 12 October 2023.