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NHS Health at Work December bulletin

/Board members/DMJ

Dear Colleagues

The first snow of winter landed last week and what a cold dreary last few weeks we have had with the promise of more snow for many of us in the next week.

Well done to all of you for your efforts with the ‘flu campaign this year. NHS employers are already saying that we have a 5% rise in the numbers of staff being vaccinated and I know that many of you have done so much better than that already.

I attended an interesting event last week hosted by our mental health team regarding a programme called IPS Supported Employment, this is an evidence-based approach to supported employment for people who have a mental illness. IPS stands for Individual Placement and Support. IPS supports people in their efforts to achieve steady, meaningful employment in mainstream competitive jobs. It seems that community mental health teams all over the country are creating IPS roles to help individuals with mental health conditions get back into work, I think well worth finding out what is happening local to yourselves!

You will see in the report below, that the Government has issued its strategy in response to its consultation on the work, health and disability green paper. It indicates that there will be changes to Fit for Work, which are referenced in the report. It is also understood that the Government is considering extending who can sign fit notes, including specialist nurses, physios, OTs, etc.  This would require legislative change to make it happen as it is connected to benefits/sick pay. However, I think there may be interesting times ahead!

Meanwhile wrap up warm and I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a happy and contented New Year.

David Maslen-Jones
Deputy Network Chair

The next edition will be circulated on 10th January.

In this edition:

1. Improving lives: the future of work, health and disability
2. MoHaWK
3. Member discount – Certificate in managing OH services
4. Men at work – with cancer
5. SCIN trial
6. NICE committee to update guidelines on Workplace health: long term sickness and incapacity to work update committee
7. Early intervention toolkit
8. PHE ‘Movement into employment: return on investment tool
9. NSOH annual conference – February 2018
10. Health and Wellbeing at Work conference – March 2018
11. Active 10 app
12. Healthcare regulation
13. RMBF infographic – doctors under pressure
14. RCN Employers’ guide to revalidation
15. Psychology at Work report
16. Get set to go evaluation
17. Flu fighter update
18. NHS Employers update


1. Improving lives: the future of work, health and disability

In October 2016, the Government published its strategy for the future of work, health and disability as a Green Paper and subsequently undertook an extensive consultation with all key stakeholders. The consultation received a fantastic level of feedback which has been used to inform the Government response,‘Improving lives: the future of work, health and disability’, which was published in November.

The publication sets out the Government’s commitment to:

  • the vision set out in the Green Paper ‘A society where everyone is ambitious for disabled people and people with health conditions in respect of work – and where people understand and act positively upon the health benefits that good work brings’; and
  • to get 1 million more disabled people in work over the next ten years – an ambitious new target, which it will take everyone working together to deliver.

It also sets out plans for the next ten years, focussing particularly on actions over the next two to three years across the three settings, which are all essential to enable disabled people and people with health conditions to get into, stay in, or return to work:

  • in the welfare system – a sustainable welfare system and employment support that operates in tandem with the health system and as part of strong wider local partnerships to move people into work when they are ready; and
  • in the workplace – supporting and encouraging employers to create healthy and inclusive workplaces where all can thrive and progress;
  • in health services – with health professionals ready to talk about health barriers to work, timely access to appropriate treatments, and effective occupational health services accessible by everyone in work, focusing on prevention and early intervention.

This publication also acts as the official Government response to Thriving at Work: the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers, published in October 2017, which set out a compelling business case for employers to support their staff’s mental health.

2. MoHaWK – Round 12

Round 12 has now opened and you have the month of December and January to input your data. This Round sees the start of the new electronic record keeping indicators which may be helpful to review your services electronic clinical records.

Remember – you do not have to complete all indicators, if necessary, just consider one or two areas that you want to focus on within your service. If you have any queries then please contact

3. Member discount - Certificate in Managing Occupational Health Services

26 - 28 Feb 2018, Central London

The At Work Partnership is delighted to offer NHS Health at Work Network members a discount of £200 + VAT for places on our Certificate in Managing Occupational Health Services.

This three-day Certificate programme is designed to equip you with the essential management tools to deliver a successful occupational health service.
Book and pay by 5 January 2018 to qualify for the early bird rates.
More information is available here.

4. Men at work – with cancer

The first-ever guide to help men to keep working during or after a cancer diagnosis has been published.

Working with Cancer’ from the European Men’s Health Forum is a short 12-page booklet that answers all the questions that working men, whether employed, self-employed or freelance, have when cancer strikes. The booklet was written by a working man with cancer, developed with a steering group including working men with cancer and read and commented on by working men with cancer. It also addresses the employer’s perspective, the legal position and related matters around money and general health.

5. SCIN trial

Summary of study
A national research study to test an intervention to improve hand care in at-risk nurses was undertaken. We recruited 861 student nurses and 1116 intensive care or special care baby unit nurses working full-time in the NHS. Each of the 35 participating sites were randomised to either intervention plus or intervention light arms. Participants in intervention plus sites received access to a behaviour change intervention to improve hand care, a written leaflet with advice on hand dermatitis prevention and optimisation of hand moisturising cream (for student nurses this included personal supplies of hand moisturising cream). Nurses in the intervention light arm only received the written leaflet with advice on hand dermatitis prevention. All nurses were reminded to contact occupational health early on if they develop any symptoms of hand dermatitis during the study. We collected hand photographs at the time of recruitment and at 12 months and this allowed us to assess changes in the prevalence of hand dermatitis during the study period. Nurses also completed questionnaires which allowed us to measure changes in health beliefs and health behaviours associated with hand dermatitis.  We also collected site level data relating to current policy, practice and training with respect to hand hygiene.

For your convenience, a magazine version of the behavioural change package (BCP) is available for students and ICU nurses. The BCP provides evidenced-based information: on when and when not to use gloves; on when to use antibacterial hand rubs; on when to use moisturising cream; and to contact OH early if hand dermatitis occurs. An important part of the BCP is for nurses to form implementation intentions for performing specific behaviours in their workplace.   

The results showed that the intervention was effective in changing some health beliefs and health behaviours associated with hand dermatitis prevention but these results were not statistically significant. Only 11% of student nurses and 13% of ICU/SBCU nurses in the study accessed the BCP, but of those who did, the intervention (i.e. the BCP along with ready availability of hand moisturisers) led to a significant decrease in the prevalence of hand dermatitis (especially in student nurses) and an increase in use of hand moisturising cream.

Based on these results outlined above, we now encourage participating OH departments to consider collaborating with their respective infection control teams and directors of nursing, to review if access to the BCP (either online or paper-based) backed up by provision of hand moisturisers should be integrated into trust policy possible via mandatory training or as part of skin surveillance.
We would welcome feedback from participating sites on whether they intend to implement the BCP and provision of hand moisturisers in their trust. We would also welcome feedback on effective strategies that we should consider to further reinforce this message across the NHS workforce. Please provide feedback to Dr Vaughan Parsons (SCIN trial manager) -

6. NICE committee to update guidelines on Workplace health: long term sickness and incapacity to work update committee

NICE are recruiting members for their guideline committee on Workplace health: long term sickness and incapacity to work.

They are specifically looking for an occupational health specialist/consultant. More details are available on the NICE website and the deadline for applications is 5pm, Tuesday 9 January 2018.

If you have any queries about Committee membership or the recruitment process, please contact

7. Early intervention toolkit

In November, the Work Foundation launched an early intervention toolkit. This is a unique resource which, using the example of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions, illustrates why there is an increasingly urgent need for early intervention services across the EU and, in turn, demonstrates how such services could be implemented, with best practice examples, in a range of countries and health systems.

8. PHE ‘Movement into employment: return on investment tool

PHE has published a Movement into employment: return on investment tool. This interactive tool helps local decision-makers assess the health and financial benefits for individuals, the exchequer and wider society of helping people in their area back into work. Local authorities, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), Jobcentre Plus and national policymakers can use the results to make the case for greater investment in health and work interventions.

The accompanying report explains how the tool was constructed and its main findings.

9. NSOH conference – 6th February 2018

The National School of OH annual conference will be held on 6th February 2018 at Holborn Bars, London. The theme for the conference is Sleep Tight, Work Bright - focusing on fatigue and sleep factors to improve workplace wellbeing.

Speakers will include Prof Russell Foster from the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, Diana Kloss, Christina Butterworth, and Dr Michael Farquar. There will be a variety of workshops including topics on the future world of work and impact on sleep patterns, Sleepio will be discussing whether digital medicine can transform our sleep, burnout and fatigue and what can we do about it. A full programme will follow and you can register here.

Call for posters
Posters are also invited on any successful health and wellbeing initiatives that can be shared with colleagues. More details are available here.

10. Health and Wellbeing at Work conference – March 2018

The full programme for the Health and Wellbeing at Work conference has now been released and is available here. You can register before 5th January for a reduced fee of £40 plus VAT.

11. Active 10 app

Public Health England has launched a new app to encourage people to take do at least 10 minutes exercise every day.

12. Healthcare regulation

The Department of Health is consulting on reforming the regulation of the 9 UK healthcare professions, including the NMC and GMC, to provide a better and more responsive system to protect patients, support health services and to help the workforce meet future challenges. This consultation takes forward the Government's commitment to legislate to reform and rationalise the current system of regulation of healthcare professions. The responses to this consultation will allow the government to consider future options for the development of regulation of healthcare professionals in the UK.

Click here to add your comments. The closing date is 23rd January 2018.

13. RMBF infographic

In July and August, the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund surveyed over 1,800 medical professionals – including senior hospital doctors, GPs, trainees and charity supporters – about the pressures faced by doctors in their day-to-day working lives. They have now published an infographic showing the results.

14. Employers’ guide to revalidation

The RCN has published a ‘Guide to revalidation for employers: mitigating the risks to your business’ which is free to download.

15. Psychology at Work report

The British Psychological Society’s report, ‘Psychology at Work’, was launched in November at the House of Commons through the All Party Parliamentary Group focused on psychology and will be fed into the APPG on disability.

The report has 3 sections:

  • Principles of a psychologically healthy workplace, linked to the HSE standards and relevant to the good work agenda
  • Neuro diversity and the need for adjustments at work with specific reference to conditions such as dyslexia, tourettes, autism and ADHD.
  • A challenge to government about the current approach to benefits sanctions and coercion with particular emphasis on issues of mental health.

More information is available here or you can download a copy of the report.

16. Get Set to Go evaluation

The Get Set to Go programme was launched with the support of Sport England and the National Lottery in July 2015 to help people with mental health problems benefit from being physically active. The programme saw 3,585 people with mental health problems take part in specially designed physical activity projects. An evaluation of the programme was carried out by academic researchers, and this report brings together key learning from the programme. The findings show that physical activity has an important role to play in building resilience, enabling and supporting mental health recovery and tackling stigma and discrimination.

There is also an accompanying blog.

17. Flu fighter update

NHS England flu letter now live
We have received the final letter from NHS England, signed by eight senior leaders, that can be used for promoting and boosting the uptake of the flu vaccinations amongst your staff. This is available on the website.

Research shows flu vaccine reduces NHS staff sickness

A new study from Imperial College shows that improving NHS flu vaccination uptake reduces staff sickness. Data on flu vaccination rates and staff sickness absence were analysed across the NHS for four flu seasons from 2011, and included 223 healthcare trusts and approximately 800,000 staff. 

#jabathon survey – prize up for grabs! 

Our #jabathon survey is still open and we’d really love to hear your feedback. We’ll be selecting one lucky to winner to win a prize… it is Christmas after all! It just takes a few minutes to complete and will help us make next year’s #jabathon even better. 

Flu fighter monthly rewards
Our flu fighter monthly reward theme this month is Christmas! From the 15th to 31st December, post your flu fighting pictures with a Christmas theme on Twitter using #flufightercontest and we’ll select a winner early next year to win some flu fighter goodies. If you need some Christmas inspiration, take a look at Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn’s Jabvent calendar. Let us know if you’re doing anything similar via Twitter @NHSflufighter or by using #flufighter.

October’s vaccination uptake figures released
The first figures for flu vaccination uptake in frontline NHS healthcare workers have been released by Public Health England today and we’re amazed by the results! The overall uptake at this point is 46% which is 6% higher than last year!

Roy Lilley – We need you fighting fit, not fighting flu
In this blog, Roy Lilley looks at some of the reasons why people choose not to get their flu jab. A lot of the reasons can be mythbusted using our flu matters page. Worth a read and definitely worth sharing!

CQUIN update
We’re continuing to work with NHS England to provide clarity on whether the opt-out forms need to be reported to meet the CQUIN target. We will circulate more information as soon as we have it. We’ve also published a simplified numerator and denominator guidance which you may find helpful!

Email or call the flu fighter hotline at 0844 334 5252 with any of your flu related queries.

18. NHS Employers update

NHS Employers have put together a really useful summary of documents and reports that have been influential in shaping thinking and approaches in health and wellbeing across the NHS. These will help you to develop and review your health and wellbeing approach.


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

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.

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.

Dr Shriti Pattani, Chair
Andrew Gilbey, Network Manager
Wendy Coleman, Network Administrator or

Postal address: PO Box 642, BS23 9NG
Tel: 07584 269322

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