Health Action pilots focus on OH

Employment pilot scheme include several projects to improve delivery of OH

The latest Health Action Zone (HAZ) employment pilot programme, which was
launched by health minister John Hutton last month, includes several OH
projects among the nine pilots chosen for development.

Hutton said, "We are working to modernise health services, at the same
time as building the partnerships which will help us tackle the causes of
ill-health that hold back the potential of communities to prosper and grow.

"The HAZ employment pilots are a practical example of our approach –
tackling specific issues linking health and employment. They are a mix of well
thought-out ideas and innovation and we are backing them with £400,000 each
year over the next two or three years."

The nine pilots include several with an OH focus. One, on Merseyside,
focuses on developing occupational health in the NHS and local authority supply
chain and local private business sector. It aims to improve OH in small and
medium-sized business enterprises in the HAZ area which supply the HAZ partners
– NHS and local authority – by establishing an employer database and network,
focusing initially on a few with whom to devise and pilot minimum workplace

Another, in Manchester, is aimed at improving the care of people with
musculoskeletal pain which prevents them from coping with their current
employment; to facilitate early return to work, prevent development of
disability and cut healthcare usage. The intention is to establish a local
resource centre of excellence for occupational rehabilitation in the management
of back pain.

Another, in Walsall, involves plans to develop early interventions to
support people who are in work but experiencing difficulties due to health
problems. The project involves working with GPs to develop computer-supported
referral highways, to refer people to appropriate sources of advice or support
other than medical advice.

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