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NHS Health at Work June-bulletin

/Board members/Shriti_PattaniDear Colleagues

Welcome to the June bulletin. In May the Society of Occupational Medicine published a report on ‘Occupational Health: the value proposition’, along with 3 excellent leaflets, the details of which are included in the bulletin.

We are fortunate to have eminent speakers at our annual conference this year covering topics relevant in our day-to-day work. I hope many of you will be able to attend, taking up your free place, which is part of your membership package. 

The next Board teleconference is on 14th June so if any Members have any queries or comments please forward these to either your regional representative or to

Best wishes
Shriti Pattani

The next edition will be circulated on 5th July.

In this edition:
1. Network Annual Conference – 13/14th September 2017
2. Network Board vacancies
3. MoHaWK
4. Occupational Health: the value proposition
5. Member Benefit: Essential Legal Skills For Occupational Health Professionals
6. Flu fighter – final uptake figures
7. Cleaning agents containing chlorine and health problems
8. British Liver Trust’s ‘Love Your Liver’ Campaign 2017
9. British Nutrition Week – 12-16 June 2017
10. Network ‘ask a question’

1. Network Annual Conference – 13/14th September 2017

Our annual conference will be on Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th September at Chesford Grange, Kenilworth, Warwickshire. The conference will follow a familiar format, starting on Wednesday evening with an AGM and conference dinner for Network members, followed by the conference day on Thursday. Non-Network members will be able to join us as day delegates for the conference day itself.

We are busy pulling together the programme, which is nearly complete, and we hope to confirm the final details later this month. So far, we can confirm the following excellent speakers:

  • Dr Paul Litchfield - Does Wellbeing Really Work? 
  • Professor Kim Burton - A BioPsychoSocial Approach to the Work-Health Interface
  • Professor Diana Kloss MBE - Occupational Health and the Law: An update
  • Dr Anne de Bono – Mainstreaming OH – a future vision
  • Dr Blandina Blackburn - Neuro-disabilities in the workplace: an OH approach
  • A speaker from Public Health England – Infectious Diseases and Surveillance in the NHS

We are now taking bookings for the conference. Prices are as follows:

  • Network members have one free place for their team – this includes the conference dinner, overnight accommodation at the venue, and the conference. Please remember that you need to complete a booking form to claim this place.
  • Network members can buy additional full places for £295 (covering dinner, accommodation and the day of the conference), or a day delegate place for the conference for £150.
  • Non-Network members can buy a day delegate place for £295.

You can download a booking form here or contact if you have any queries.

2. Network Board announcements

South East Coast – We are pleased to confirm that Emma Palmer is the new representative for the South East Coast region, replacing Dr Jane Hitchins. Our thanks go to Jane for her support for the Board and the Network. Emma has worked in OH for 15 years and is currently the Service Manager at East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and previously worked as a nurse consultant. Emma can be contacted via email at

London - We are also pleased to confirm that Ali Hashtroudi has agreed to represent London on the Network Board for a further year, while we seek a replacement. If you are interested in knowing more about how the Board works, we would encourage potential Board members to attend the next face to face meeting in September. Please contact for more details.

Yorkshire & Humber – If you would be interested in becoming more involved in the Network and applying for this vacant Board post, more information and an application form is available here, or contact The closing date has been extended to Friday 30th June 2017.

3. MoHaWK – Round 11 is approaching

Following feedback from delegates at the recent regional MoHaWK workshops, the time frames for the MoHaWK ‘rounds’ have been altered. As a result Round 11 data entry will open in July. Please review the briefing note now to ensure you know which indicators your service will be entering and the various data requirements. Remember that Mohawk supports your local audit programme and helps to provide evidence for SEQOHS assessments – so make sure you plan in advance. Please do contact me with any queries -

We did not receive sufficient interest following our previous communication about running another MoHaWK workshop later in the year but we thought that a webinar would provide an easy and cost effective alternative for those users (and potential users) who would like to get more out of MoHaWK. If you would be interested in principle then please contact to let us know.

4. Occupational Health – the value proposition

The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) has just published ‘Occupational health: the value proposition’. This cites evidence that shows organisations most commonly rank occupational health involvement as the most effective method for managing the problem of employee long-term absence from work. The document also reports that a healthy workplace culture and the adoption of a systematic approach to occupational health can contribute to the success of an organisation.

SOM Patron, Lord Blunkett, said of the findings: “This report provides a comprehensive analysis and evidence review of the value of occupational health. It comes at a critical time for the policy agenda for work and health, and the challenge of the productivity gap. It is essential reading for managers, clinicians and policy makers."

The full press release is available here or click here to download the report.
Three leaflets that have been produced alongside the report can be found through the following links:

5. Member Benefit: Essential Legal Skills for Occupational Health Professionals 

Legal Experience Training offer 5% off their Essential Legal Skills For Occupational Health Professionals course fees for NHS Health At Work Network members, and their next course will run on the 7 and 8 September 2017 in London. In addition, on booking places, one of two additional discounts is also currently available. Legal Experience Training are offering a 15% discount on course fees when booking and payment is made before the 3 July 2017, or 15% off for each delegate, when two colleagues book together.

Download the brochure here.

6. Flu fighter – final uptake figures

Public Health England has confirmed a record breaking season for flu vaccine uptake, with 63.2 per cent of frontline healthcare workers vaccinated against flu, up from 50.6 per cent in the previous year. This amounts to a total of 625,086 frontline healthcare workers.

New resources

The five case studies from the NHS trusts that won the 2017 flu fighter awards are on NHS Employers’ website. They contain tips and good practice that could help your flu campaign next year.

You can also read blogs from the speakers at their flu fighter conference, which are based on their presentations, here.

7. Cleaning agents containing chlorine and health problems

For over 10 years, there have been a number of cases documented of healthcare staff exposed to cleaning solutions reporting respiratory issues. A recent case based discussion article by Moore et al in Thorax 20171 outlines 12 cases of healthcare professionals and cleaners with occupational asthma who were exposed to chlorine-releasing agents.

A number of cleaning agents are used in healthcare consisting of different chemical compounds but all containing chlorine molecules. These cleaning substances ultimately either release chlorine or chlorine dioxide molecules, which can be irritant or react with nitrogen containing compounds as outlined below.

  • If used or mixed inappropriately, eg. mixing in enclosed areas in higher than recommended concentrations or with hot water, high levels of chlorine gas is released. At low concentrations, chlorine gas has an irritant effect but at very high concentrations in an enclosed space, it can be hazardous to health.
  • If used on a material containing nitrogen, eg. an organic material like blood, urine, or faeces, it can release chlor-amines, which is a postulated cause of occupational asthma. Additionally, one of the chemical components in question, Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate has a high Quantitative Structure Activity Relationship (QSAR) score (of 0.98), indicating a high asthmagenicity prediction2.

At present, there are no widely available infection control substitutes that have the same effectiveness of chlorine containing cleaning products against Clostridium Difficile spores and MRSA. Therefore, the key is that staff are trained to use them correctly and are made aware of the potential health effects if used incorrectly. In 2017, cleaners working at an NHS Trust in England had won a claim after exposure to a chemical disinfectant at work made them ill as they did not have the relevant training and equipment. The question is whether even with good training programmes, routine health surveillance to pick up cases of occupational asthma is indicated for users of these cleaning agents.

1. Moore et al Thorax 2017;72:581-583
2. Jarvis et al Occup Environ Med 2005;62:243-250

8. British Liver Trust’s ‘Love Your Liver’ Campaign 2017

Liver disease is the third leading cause of death in the UK amongst people of working age. At the moment three quarters of people are diagnosed in a hospital setting when they already have cirrhosis and for many of these people it is too late.

The British Liver Trust’s national Love Your Liver campaign takes place in June. The goal is to raise awareness of the three main risk factors of liver disease and the importance of early detection.

The 2017 campaign will include a roadshow with a branded mobile screening and scanning unit touring the country, and a new range of free materials to raise awareness and promote early detection. Please support the campaign by raising awareness in your workplace. A liver health check is quick and painless - and it could save your life.

Further details of how to support the campaign and order free materials, the roadshow locations and an online screener where your staff can see if they are at risk are on the British Liver Trust website

9. British Nutrition Week - 12-16 June 2017

British Nutrition Week provides a dedicated week in the year where the UK can come together to focus on healthy eating and drinking, and physical activity, in order to encourage healthy living. The Week is an excellent opportunity to build on your organisation’s health initiatives.
To register and for more information and resources, visit the food-a-fact-of-life website here.

10. Network ‘ask a question’

If you would like to ask your colleagues a question please email You can see all our questions and answers here.


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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