OH service saved from closure

A London occupational health service has been saved from closure by a
last-minute injection of funds.

But HealthWorks in Newham still faces an uncertain future, with less funding
secured than it had hoped for, and the prospect of only being able to offer a
reduced service.

The community-based OH service has been operating since 1997 supported and
funded through a combination of Government regeneration money, the London
Borough of Newham’s environment department and Newham Primary Care Trust.

Funding had been due to run out this month but the service has now received
an £84,500 lifeline from the regeneration fund which will part secure its
future for this year.

But there is still a shortfall of some £50,000, which means the service will
not be able to operate as widely as before. Nor will it offer, an adolescent
and teenage service as it has done in the past.

The service recently carried out a survey of working people with health-related
problems in the borough, interviewing people in GP waiting rooms. It found more
than half reported work-related ill health resulting from their current or
previous work.

Stress and musculoskeletal disorders were identified as the most frequently
reported work-related health problems.

Project co-ordinator Rachel Ashworth said the organisation was now seeking
to secure further funding from the borough and the PCT as well as the National
Lottery. She had been hoping to expand the service this year, but this was now
unlikely to happen, she added.

A spokeswoman for the London Borough of Newham, which has matched the
funding from the regeneration fund up to now, said it remained supportive of
the service and was now assessing whether it could also provide extra
cash."We are trying to help," she said.

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