Welcome to our April 2024 Bulletin

/Board Members 2022/543A8566

Dear Colleagues

This month’s bulletin is packed full of great information, so please take the time to review the various elements for your own learning and sharing. I want to draw your attention the importance of signing up to the Network for the coming year. If your Service has not yet received its renewal documents, please get in touch so that you can take advantage of the ‘early bird’ offer and receive the fantastic benefits that are associated with membership. Please speak with your Head of Service to make sure your department has signed up! 

Last month, I mentioned that the number of OH Services supporting organisations with measles preparedness highlighted the ongoing need for staff protection and vaccination. Equally, I am aware that many of us are also experiencing potential and confirmed whooping cough cases resulting in some of the same staff groups being reviewed for evidence of pertussis vaccination (if they meet the criteria of Priority Group 1). The links below are to the relevant guidance and recent publications. 

Pertussis: occupational vaccination of healthcare workers - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Guidance on the management of cases of pertussis during high activity (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Once again, occupational health remains in the Government spotlight with the formation of the new OH Taskforce – if you haven’t heard about, check out item 2 in the bulletin. 

As we move into April, I hope you get some down time over the Easter break and the sun makes an appearance in what has felt quite a long, wet winter. 

Best wishes

Hilary Winch

Chair, NHS Health at Work Network


In this edition:

1. It’s Time to Renew your NHS Network Membership!

2. New OH Taskforce to Tackle In-Work Sickness and Drive Down Inactivity

3. Sharing Good Practice: Resources for Members

4. NHS Employers Guidance

5. None of Our Business?

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6. Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare: Legal Duties

7. Long Covid: A Manager’s Guide

8. MoHaWK

9. South West Region Network Board Rep Vacancy

10. Latest News and Resources

1.    It’s Time to Renew your NHS Network Membership!

Thank you to all those OH services and organisations who have continued to back the Network by renewing your membership. If you haven’t already done so, just a gentle reminder that the early £200 early-bird discount finishes on 26 April so make sure you renew by then to get the best price. We are delighted to maintain a brilliant range of membership packages so that you can choose the right one for your team and organisation. Full membership is the only way to guarantee your place at our highly acclaimed annual conference on 11 and 12 September 2024, and which had a 100% satisfaction rating in 2023! 

If you haven’t seen your renewal forms, or are interested in joining the 95% of NHS occupational health teams in England who subscribed to our Network in 2023, please get in touch via admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk  

2.    New OH Taskforce to Tackle In-Work Sickness and Drive Down Inactivity 

Dame Carol Black, an experienced health policy advisor, will lead a new taskforce to improve employer awareness of the benefits of occupational health in the workplace. 

Only 45% of workers in Britain currently have access to some form of occupational health service. This new taskforce is part of the government’s drive to tackle in-work sicknesses and help grow the economy.Businesses will be urged to tackle in-work sickness and stop people falling out of the workforce, following the appointment of Dame Carol Black as the Government’s new Occupational Health Tsar.

Dame Carol, who has decades of experience in medicine and policy advisory while having chaired multiple government reviews, will head up a taskforce that will produce a voluntary occupational health framework for businesses - which will include setting out minimum levels of occupational health needed to stop sickness-related job losses, and help businesses better support those returning to work after a period of ill-health.

Just 28% of employers in Britain provide some form of occupational health, with large employers (89%) nearly three times more likely than SMEs (28%) to do so. 

This much needed framework – expected this Summer – will form part of the Government’s drive to reduce inactivity levels and waiting list times.

3.    Sharing Good Practice: Resources for Members

Can you help? This month we have two areas of shared practice that we would like you to consider. The first health surveillance - do you have examples of the following you could share: 

  • health surveillance screening forms 
  • examples of fitness certificates/outcome reports sent to line managers/organisations
  • Examples of reporting anonymised data to organisations 

Another of the key areas of work we are often asked about is template business cases. 

If any of you have successfully managed to develop a business case for additional resources, a new programme of work, or a new IT investment, for example, then we know that your colleagues around the Network would love to have sight of these to help them in their own Service development. We do understand that sometimes this type of request can be commercially sensitive, so you can redact the document accordingly. Also, be assured that only members of the Network can access these in a members-only area of the website. Please send your contributions to admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk We can oblige by taking off any reference to your own Trust if you prefer or we can happily leave logos on so that you can be acknowledged for your contribution.  

4.    NHS Employers Guidance

NHS Employers has an excellent range of guidance and resources to support managers and staff with everyday workplace challenges:

Occupational health for NHS staff

Having a robust occupational health service and working in partnership can lead to increased productivity, reduced absence, and money saved.

Improving the personal safety of lone workers

This guidance outlines what your employers should do to improve the personal safety of lone workers and what you can do to protect yourself.

Equalities homeworking guidance

Guidance from the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group (EDIG) which supports section 35 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook.

Safe use of chlorine-based disinfectant chemicals guidance

This publication aims to prevent health and care staff from developing health conditions through exposures to commonly used cleaning chemicals.

Flexible working

Learn how employers can support their staff by offering flexible working and flexible retirement options.

5.    None of Our Business?

Should places of work and study play a greater role in supporting the health of their employees?  This new report from Policy Exchange – backed by two former Work and Pensions Secretaries – sets out fifteen measures to boost the role of workplaces in supporting the nation’s health to reduce the record number of people on long-term sick leave, save the NHS money and to limit the growing benefits bill. 

It argues that improved access to occupational health and vocational rehabilitation via employers would enable more people with long-term conditions to remain in work and would improve ‘return to work’ rates for those recovering from major conditions, such as cancer. It also argues that enabling more referrals by GPs to occupational health professionals will reduce the number of ‘fit notes’ being signed-off as ‘not fit for work’. (94% of the 11m ‘fit notes’ issued last year were marked ‘not fit for work’.) 




Electronic order comms for occupational health

A 15-min appointment to take 3 test samples and complete all the associated paperwork, labelling and then on to the next job. 

The samples are sent to the lab but there's no visibility on status. Eventually you chase the lab only to find someone mistyped the form upon data entry, and you need to re-test.

Surgeons, doctors, nurses are now delayed getting to the front line to provide patient care.

Sound familiar?

But now you can order tests and get results electronically using LabReach:

+      Eliminate paper workflows — get time back and improve clinical safety

+      Keep records separate — preserve occupational health privacy 

+      Get end-to-end visibility of test statuses — no more chasing up labs

Book a demo to see how LabReach can improve your patient outcomes and operational efficiency

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6.    Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare: Legal Duties

There are a number of legal duties which all businesses must comply with on workplace health, safety and welfareThe HSE has a workplace, health, safety and welfare website which brings together general guidance for all workplaces to follow.

This includes the law on workplace safety, which covers a wide range of basic health, safety and welfare issues. There is also guidance on a variety of topics and legal duties that all businesses should follow, including:

7.    Long Covid: A Manager’s Guide 

SOM has produced a new guide for managers covering supporting people with Long COVID. The guide states that managers can have a significant impact on successful return to work and outlines some of the key steps that can be taken to facilitate this. An infographic and myth buster also helps to highlight the success factors in supporting return to work.

8.    MoHaWK

We are delighted to be able to continue our association with the Faculty of Occupational Medicine in offering MoHaWK to NHS Network members at a heavily discounted rate as part of our membership packages. MoHaWK is an OH clinical audit and benchmarking tool, which supports teams in their audit programmes and provides invaluable evidence as part of SEQOHS accreditation. A MoHaWK license purchased directly from the FOM costs £475 +VAT, and so by purchasing one of the Network membership packages incorporating MoHaWK, you are making a considerable saving! 

Round 24 opened on 1 January 2024 for data input and will stay open until the commencement of the following Round. The briefing notes for Round 24 are available here. If you have any specific queries, then please contact hilary.winch@nnuh.nhs.uk

9.    South West Region NHS Network Board Rep Vacancy

We have a vacancy on our Network Board for the South West Midlands region from the end of June, to replace the retiring Alison James. Applications are invited from Network Member colleagues working in this region, to join our Board. For an informal discussion and/or an application form, contact Andrew Gilbey, General Manager at admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk and submit your application by no later than Friday 26 April. 

10.  Courses and Resources

NHS Leadership Academy: Developing Inclusive Workplaces Programme

This programme is designed for health and care managers and supervisors to help them develop core inclusive leadership skills. The programme is comprised of a suite of short courses covering different themes of inclusive workplaces. 

The International Practitioner Health Summit 2024: The Wounded Healer will be taking place in London on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th June 2024 (with the option to attend the main stream virtually). More information on the programme and how to book here.

Book your place for the National School of Occupational Health 2024 Annual Virtual Conference which visits the world of digital within OH. The topics include Telemedicine, Digital in OH practice, automated MSK triage and advice, Implications of new technologies, Digital security within OH commercial providers, AI, and VR in OH Education and other exciting topics. To book your place Please click here. Please note to book your place, you will need to create an account with Accent Course Manager - https://accent.hicom.co.uk/coursemanager/live/hee/web. If you have any problems booking, please email england.NationalSchoolOccHealth@nhs.net

Attend the launch webinar of Staff Health and Wellbeing – A Best Practice Guide for NHS Wales on Monday 22 April, 09.30 – 10.30. Sign up here.

More people in their early twenties are out of work due to ill-health compared to those in their early 40’s. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-68399392   

The London Centre for Work and Health (www.lcwh.org) is a cross-institutional partnership involving clinical and academic researchers from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College London, King’s College London, Queen Mary (University of London), University College London, University of Southampton, Affinity Health at Work and other external partners. The centre runs regular virtual Lunch and Learn webinar sessions which are open to all. Details for the upcoming sessions:

April 2024

Date: Thursday 25 April 2024 (12.30-13.15)

Topic: G-induced alterations of consciousness in UK military aviation”.

Presenter: Dr Michael-Luke Jones (Occupational medicine specialist registrar) from the Royal Air Force

Join on your computer, mobile app, or room device

Click here to join the meeting

May 2024

Date: Tuesday 14 May 2024 (12.30-13.15)

Topic: Models of delivering health and wellbeing services (HWS) to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK: Results from a scoping review)

Presenter: Dr Georgia Ntani (senior research fellow / medical statistician at MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton)

Join on your computer, mobile app, or room device

Click here to join the meeting

June 2024

Date: Thursday 13 June 2024 (12.30-13.15)

Topic: The Adverse Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Dust on the London Underground. 

Presenter: Justie Mak (Phd student, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London)

Join on your computer, mobile app, or room device

Click here to join the meeting 


The NHS Health at Work Network brings together all OH teams providing health and wellbeing services to NHS OH staff.  It is dedicated to providing consistent, high-quality health at work services to all NHS staff through collaborative working.

Members of OH teams in NHS Health at Work Network member organisations can receive the bulletin and access the restricted areas of the website as a membership benefit – if you are not sure of your login details email admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk  

Please share this bulletin with colleagues and encourage them to register to receive it regularly.  Non-Network members can also register to receive the monthly bulletin here.

You can contact the Network through your regional representative or as shown below.  Please get in touch if you have any queries or comments, if there is anything you would like to see in future issues of the bulletin, or if you have news to share.

Hilary Winch, Chair                                                  hilary.winch@nnuh.nhs.uk

Andrew Gilbey, General Manager                       admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk

The NHS Health at Work Network does not, directly, or indirectly, endorse any product or service that is, or will, be provided by any of our Supporters. Organisations which become NHS Health at Work Network Supporters will not, in any way, state or imply that the NHS Health at Work Network endorses any such product or service that they provide. 

Postal address: NHS Health at Work, PO Box 857, York YO31 6FR