The NHS Health at Work Network has developed a promotional strategy designed to help occupational health teams make the business case for OH, especially those fearing redundancy or facing the threat of being outsourced.
The network has said, with the difficult NHS financial climate, it has been receiving reports from some trusts of redundancies among OH physicians or decisions being made to outsource previously inhouse services.
“There is felt to be a lack of understanding of the value and importance of OH on the part of the senior managers within trusts and commissioners, including those within host trusts,” it said, although adding that some trusts are still continuing to support and resource their units.
“The network board believes that, if NHS OH teams work together to promote and clearly articulate the added value that we bring, we can more effectively promote OH within the NHS and influence those who commission our services and are responsible for formulating policy,” it added.
To this end, the network has developed a promotional strategy designed to offer help and advice on how to promote OH internally.
In particular, it focuses on three key messages: NHS OH looks after the NHS’s “high-value” assets (its staff), so reducing costs for employers and improving outcomes for staff and patients; NHS OH staff have specialist knowledge and skills specific to the NHS healthcare workforce, again helping to reduce costs and improve outcomes; and OH needs to be a key component of a trust’s risk management strategy.
The network has said it also intends to work separately with trusts in terms of marketing and communicating to external providers.