Occupational health research foundation forced to close

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The British Occupational Health Research Foundation (BOHRF) has announced that it has become a casualty of the difficult economic climate.

In a letter posted on its website in January, Sir Bill Callaghan, chair of trustees, said: “It will come as no surprise that in the current economic climate the trustees have concluded that we do not have the level of financial sponsorship to take on any new research projects. This means that in 2012 BOHRF will start to wind down its activities.”

However, eight projects in the pipeline will be completed, he stressed. These are:

  • a pre-employment guideline regarding asthmatics for use in screening, or Pegasus (Professor Paul Cullinan, Imperial College, London);
  • computerised cognitive behavioural therapy for common mental health disorders: randomised controlled trial of a workplace intervention (Professor Justine Schneider, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust);
  • an evaluation of a pilot Fit for Work service (Dr Julia Smedley, Southampton General Hospital, University of Southampton);
  • a systematic review of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of employee assistance programmes (Dr Jo Rick, University of Sheffield);
  • an appraisal of the health of new entrants into the workplace, the apprentice study (Professor Jon Ayres, University of Birmingham);
  • the development of an e-learning programme to support retention and return to work for individuals with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, (Dr Debbie Cohen, Cardiff University);
  • smoking cessation in the workplace: an evidence-based review, (Professor David Fishwick, Health and Safety Laboratory, Buxton); and
  • a review of health risks in the waste and recycling industry (Dr Alison Searl, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh).

“Looking back over the work that BOHRF has funded and facilitated, there is much to be proud of. In particular, the rigorous evidence-based reviews on topics such as back pain and asthma have provided practical guidance with a sound scientific base; for employers that has been of benefit to employees as well as the bottom line,” added Callaghan.

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