The government is to spend £11m on six pilot projects to provide occupational health (OH) services for small and medium-sized businesses.
Firms in Merseyside, East London, West Yorkshire, the North East, Devon and Worcestershire will receive NHS advice and support to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of staff.
The announcement follows the publication of Dame Carol Black’s report on the health of the working age population, which recommended a number of measures to reduce ill-health and return people to the workforce.
The funding will be managed by NHS Plus, a network of health service OH departments across England, supplying services to non-NHS employers.
Health minister Ivan Lewis said: “The funding of these schemes highlights the importance of OH services and their important role in supporting health, safety and wellbeing in both the workforce and the community.
One example of how the funding will be used is Barts and the London NHS Trust, which has been awarded £3.4m to develop an OH advice and rehabilitation centre in partnership with Tower Hamlets primary care trust and the local council.