NHS to compete in occupational health

The National Health Service is to compete with the private sector with the
launch of an initiative offering occupational health services to companies.

More than 100 trusts are participating in NHS Plus, which will market
occupational health services via the Department of Health’s website.

All the profits made by NHS Plus will be reinvested back into the health
service.

Junior health minister Hazel Blears said the programme would help generate
much-needed funds for the NHS and improve the health of the UK workforce.

The Department of Health estimates that British companies lose 7 million
working days to stress-related illnesses every year, at a cost of £5bn.

Back pain is also a major problem with 15 per cent of unemployed people
highlighting this as their reason for not working.

Blears said, "Working with the private sector is not a one-way
arrangement. NHS Plus will help the NHS reap the rewards of its own innovation
with income generated from providing occupational health services such as
immunisation, pre-employment screening and insurance medicals for
businesses."

Blears believes NHS Plus will also have a positive impact on business
performance.

"To ensure the long-term health of the labour market we need a healthy
workforce. NHS Plus will help us to achieve this. Achieving business goals at
the same time as improving health leads to improved staff morale, recruitment
and retention.

"NHS Plus will play a part in breaking the cycle of deprivation – poor
health leading to unemployment and wasted lives as people fail to reach their
full potential.

"Together with Unison, the Health and Safety Executive, the Department
of Work and Pensions and other Government departments, we are tackling the
vital area of improving the health of people at work."

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