NHS Plus is to run and test a new OH helpline targeted at small to medium-sized businesses.
The contract, first announced in Occupational Health last month, is set to be promoted to small businesses from this month onwards.
It will be piloted until March 2011 in seven regions in England as well as one covering Wales and another covering Scotland, with an evaluation being carried out by the Institute for Employment Studies.
Businesses or individuals in the pilot areas will be able to access the advice line online at www.health4work.nhs.uk or through NHS Direct, and will then be put through to NHS Plus OH nurses.
“There will be a dedicated phoneline into each department,” NHS Plus programme manager Keith Johnston told Occupational Health. “Some units have recruited extra staff hours but we will have to see how it develops. It may be that it is mixed in with existing work. But the critical thing is to ensure the call is dealt with by a qualified OH adviser.”