On the news today I heard about the launch of the Fit for Work scheme. It has as its objective to help staff get back to work, particularly if they have been abscent for 4 weeks or more, by providing advice from a ‘Fit for Work professional.’ The report I heard said that the professionals could be from the disciplines of occupational health or physiotherapy. The representative from Fit For Work said that they would help to look at all the possible reasons that a return to work could be hard from debt, mental health, illness, musculoskeletal issues.
This all seems very sensible but then it came across that the help would consist of a 45 minute phone call from a call centre in Sheffield. It wasn’t clear if the same call centre person would be asked to address all types of issues – although to be fair the interview on Radio 4 was quite short. It did make me wonder if physiotherapist would be expected to provide advice on debt though!
From this a return to work plan would be made. Being able to solve all these issues in a 45 minute phone call seems very ambitious to me and many of the problems could need a face to face discussion. Certainly back pain, work place set up type issues would need a face to face meeting. The scheme does allow for these but I can’t help thinking they might be harder to access.
If there are follow up meetings/calls to see how the plan is progressing then the system will have more chance of working. I am not sure what is provided – if you have more information on this then please do let me know below.
These comments sound a bit negative but if the scheme does help people return to work in an efficient, sensible way then I am all for it. It is likely to need time to see if it is working and a bit of shaping as it develops. Let me know what you think.
The video below is from the ‘Fit for Work’ website.