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The response of occupational health practitioners to the Covid-19 pandemic 'has been absolutely amazing', a leading health official has said, while also hinting that the government’s long-awaited response to its 2019 consultation on workplace health may now not be that far off.
Jean King, deputy director of the Work and Health Unit at the Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Work and Pensions, told today’s conference and annual general meeting of the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) that practitioners had played “a really key role” in the response to the pandemic.
“Occupational health providers responded to the challenge of Covid, and the challenge that people were facing, which we are all incredibly, incredibly grateful for. We recognise that did include a shift in the way that you were delivering services and supporting employers,” she said.
King also went out of her way to express her gratitude to the profession for its role in supporting mental and physical health throughout the pandemic.
“You have absolutely been critical in… stepping up and supporting people during Covid, which has been absolutely amazing. I do want to take that moment just to thank all of you for the really important work you have carried out in the pandemic and that you continue to do so,” she said.
Within that, the Covid return-to-work toolkits developed by SOM and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine had been “absolutely fantastic and made a real difference to people”, she added.
[pullquote] I do want to take that moment just to thank all of you for the really important work you have carried out in the pandemic and that you continue to do so" – Jean King, Work and Health Unit [/pullquote]
King also hinted that the governmen
Nic Paton is editor of Occupational Health & Wellbeing, within OHW+. One of the country's foremost workplace health journalists, Nic has written for Occupational Health & Wellbeing since 2001, and has edited the magazine since 2018.