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Scottish health scheme launched to keep people in work

Fit for Work Service scheme gets a £1.5 million funding boost

OnMedica Staff

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Scottish government has invested £1.5 million in "The Fit for Work Service" - a scheme aimed at reducing ill-health in the working population.

The scheme will allow workers to access rapid diagnosis and referral to services for common physical and mental health conditions in a bid to reduce their time out of work.

This is one of a range of measures set out in Health Works, the Scottish Government's revised approach to encouraging healthy working lives, which was unveiled this week by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon.

Ill-health in the working age population has been estimated to cost the British economy £100 billion a year in lost productivity, lost tax and increased health and welfare costs.

Other actions included in the report are: a helpline offering advice on good health in the workplace to small and medium sized enterprises, the creation of a "Scottish Offer" which will set out the access and availability of treatment and support that employees north of the border can expect and promotion of best practice examples.

Launching the action plan Ms Sturgeon said: "The health of Scotland's working age population is key to the wellbeing of both individuals and communities and to the future economic success of Scotland.

"We know that being in work is good for the long term health of most people and everyone is entitled to go home from their place of work safe and healthy. There is however more to workplace health and wellbeing than simply complying with statutory obligations.

"Health Works throws down a challenge to employers. Proactive workplace policies on health and wellbeing can deliver significant bottom line benefits, but it requires commitment from employers and from business organisations to show leadership."

Director of the CBI Scotland, Iain Macmillan, supported the move.

"There is a sound evidence base for workplace policies that support the wellbeing of employees. Most of our top performing organisations have already embraced this. CBI Scotland looks forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government in delivering the actions identified in the refreshed strategy on health and work." 

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