NHS Plus could take on a greater role by offering ‘third party’ advice on workplace health to employers and employees, it has been suggested.
The recommendation was one of a number proposed by MPs on the Commons Work and Pensions’ select committee last year, and which has now been taken on board by the government.
The committee was investigating the work of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
There was a need for OH to become more of an independent ‘problem solver’ for workers and employers, and the government was looking at proposals in this context, said the Department for Work and Pensions.
“NHS Plus may have an important role to play as a provider, where capacity is available, and it operates with the range of skills needed to tackle modern work-related health issues,” it concluded.
Earlier, in evidence to the inquiry, Simon Pickvance, senior OH adviser at Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service, admitted primary care still by and large acted as a “default occupational health service”, and was ill-equipped to do so.
NHS Plus director Dr Kit Harling, who also gave evidence, told the committee that previous attempts to get OH training into schools of nursing and medical schools had not been very successful.