‘OH tsar’ leaves door open for tax breaks for occupational health services at work

The government has not ruled out the prospect of giving employers tax incentives to offer occupational health (OH) services to staff in the future, according to the newly appointed ‘OH tsar’.

But Dame Carol Black, the new national director for health and work, ruled out further legislation to encourage healthy lifestyles, following the ban on smoking in public places.

Last week, the government-commissioned Is Work Good for your Health and Wellbeing? report found that unemployment damages people’s health, while returning to work improves it. Its findings give Black ammunition to get medical professionals and employers behind the government’s health, work and wellbeing strategy, which aims to get one million people off incapacity benefit and back to work.

Speaking exclusively to Personnel Today, Black said: “Very few doctors and nurses understand that work is health-giving.”

Black is working with the Royal College of General Practitioners on changes to GP training to get doctors to consider work issues when treating patients.

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