Welcome to our January 2024 Bulletin

/Board Members 2022/543A8566

Dear Colleagues

Whether you are reading this bulletin during the festive break, or early in the New Year after some ‘downtime’ with family and friends, I hope you have enjoyed this season of celebrations. 

As I reflect on 2023, Occupational Health has remained a key focus in both Government and NHS England discussions, and I fully expect that this will remain the case as we enter 2024. I would like to draw your attention to the first item on this bulletin - the government’s response to the recent OH Working Better consultation, to which we collectively gave our views - it is great to see that our input has featured in their response. 

In addition, I want to encourage you to sign up to our AGM on 30th January. We look forward to sharing our activity and progress over the last twelve months, along with our as plans for the year ahead. In addition, we have a great speaker in Dr Vaughan Parson for part of this AGM as well – see item 7 and make sure you book your place. 

I look forward to continuing our journey together in 2024. 

Best wishes

Hilary Winch

Chair, NHS Health at Work Network


In this edition:

1. Occupational Health: Working Better

2. HSE Assurance Inspections in the NHS: Violence and Aggression, MSDs

3. Sharing Good Practice: Audiometry Guidance is Now Live

4. NICE Menopause Guidance

5. Effective Interventions to Improve Workplace Mental Health

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6. Network Benefit: Certificate in CBT

7. Join our AGM

8. Managing Drug and Alcohol Misuse at Work

9. Annual Health and Safety Statistics Published

10. Courses, Resources and Research

1.    Occupational Health: Working Better

Following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in relation to the Work and Health agenda, that the Government has published the response to the consultation Occupational Health: Working Better.  The Network’s own consultation contribution has been noted in the Government’s response.

For any further feedback please email: OH.Consultation@DWP.Gov.UK

2.    HSE Assurance Inspections in the NHS: Violence and Aggression, MSDs

The inspections are focusing on the findings and recommendations from HSE’s 4-year inspection programme on the risk management of workplace violence and aggression (V&A) and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the NHS.

These assurance inspections involve high level engagement with senior management at selected NHS Trusts / Boards, alongside ‘on the ground’ inspections, to assess the effectiveness of measures taken to address these findings and recommendations.

HSE shared the findings from the 4-year inspection campaign on V&A and MSDs with all NHS Trust and Board Chief Executives, and with relevant NHS stakeholder groups and unions.

If any Trusts and Boards have still not received these findings, please contact us by email to request a copy.

3.    Sharing Good Practice - Audiometry Guidance is Now Live 

As part of the Network project of developing dedicated guidance for network members, some relevant health surveillance subjects are being developed. The first in this series is a ‘Good practice Guide on Audiometry’. This guide has been through the governance review and is now live on the website. Health surveillance - NHS Health at Work Network

Thank you for those who have shared aspects of practice over this last year. This month’s request is surrounding case management. Do you have examples of any of the following you would feel happy to share: 

  • Management referral forms
  • Triage protocols
  • Consultation assessment proformas
  • Consent policies
  • Template reports  

Please send your contributions through to  admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk We can oblige by taking off any reference to your own Trust if you prefer, or we will happily leave logos on so that you can be acknowledged for your contribution.  

4.    NICE Menopause Guidance

NICE have now published their updated draft guideline on menopause. It incorporates additional treatment options and recommends cognitive behavioural therapy to help reduce menopause symptoms, alongside, or as an alternative to, hormone replacement therapy. The consultation deadline on the draft guidance is 5 January 2024

5.    Effective Interventions to Improve Workplace Mental Health

A new report encourages more effective interventions to support employees and colleagues in managing their mental health, launched on the back of increased mental health issues in UK workplaces with a record number of days being lost due to work related stress. 

The need to support employees and colleagues in managing their mental health is widely recognised, however the wide range of interventions being marketed makes it difficult for employers to know what works. This new report, aimed at employers, occupational health, and human resources professionals, seeks to “cut through the noise” and identifies what really works.

Written by Dr Kevin Teoh, from Birkbeck, University of London and compiled by the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) and the CIPD, the report“The Value of Occupational Health and Human Resources in supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace” provides guidance on how to better manage workplace mental health and wellbeing. It offers information on how to design programmes and interventions for organisations. It highlights how, by working together, HR and Occupational Health can better support employees’ mental health and wellbeing. 



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6.    Network Benefit: Certificate in CBT

The At Work Partnership are delighted to offer a discount of £200 + VAT to NHS Health at Work network members for places on their Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy skills for OH professionals course

This intensive five-day virtual course (part one 19-21 March 2024; part two 1-2 May 2024) will equip you with the skills and understanding to apply CBT to the workplace management of common mental health problems, in order to increase staff retention and promote return to work from long-term sickness absence in a cost-effective way.

Book now to receive your NHS Network Members discount!

7.    Join our AGM

Network Members are invited to attend our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 30 January from 16.00 – 17.00 via MS Teams. Hear about our work in 2023, and our plans for 2024. We are also delighted to be joined by our guest speaker, Dr Vaughan Parson, at 16.30, who will be presenting the work and future plans for the London Centre of Work and Health, and how you can get involved in future research and service evaluations.

Email admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk to book your place.

8.    Managing Drug and Alcohol Misuse at Work

As an employer, you have a legal duty to protect employees’ health, safety and welfare. Understanding the signs of drug and alcohol misuse (or abuse) will help you manage health and safety risk in your workplace.

The HSE website has step-by-step guidance to help you manage drug and alcohol misuse at work, including advice on how to develop a drugs and alcohol policy  and what you can do to support your employees.

9.    Annual Health and Safety Statistics Published

The HSE has published the latest annual health and safety statistics for Great Britain (2022 to 2023).

The annual report found that:

  • 1.8 million working people are suffering from work-related ill health
  • 35 workers were killed in work-related accidents during this time period
  • In total, 35.2 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury.

10. Courses, Resources and Research

UKAP have updated and published the Quick Reference Guide (QRG) to the Integrated guidance on health clearance of healthcare workers and the management of healthcare workers living with bloodborne viruses (hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV) on the UKAP webpage, found here. The update to the QRG reflects the (November 2022) hepatitis B reactivation (rHBV) updates to the guidance. They have also revised paragraph 2, page 16 of the guidance, to make clear:

  • the responsibility of the accredited specialist in occupational health to maintain accurate and contemporaneous local records relating to HCW monitoring, and communicating the outcome of the monitoring to the UKAP secretariat
  • the responsibility of the UKAP secretariat for the assurance and management of the UKAP-Occupational Health Monitoring Register (UKAP-OHR)


Wendy Chaplin, a researcher for the Pain at Work Trial, is running a trial of a toolkit called Pain at Work which is designed to help people manage chronic pain at work. It’s an online package with the option of getting support from an occupational therapist over the phone with tips and advice on how to manage pain in the workplace (e.g., reasonable adjustments, self-care, etc). The trial is recruiting employers for the study (to either get access to the toolkit or not and then the research will compare employee outcomes). Organisations sign up then send information out to all employees, and employees can sign up individually if they’re interested. The trial will ask employees to complete 3 surveys and some of them will be invited to take part in an interview to share their views about the toolkit and whether / how they used it.

Registration for Health and Wellbeing at Work 2024 on the 12th and 13th March 2024 at Birmingham NEC is now live. More information and how to book here.

The DWP has commissioned IFF Research (www.iffresearch.com) to create a baseline picture of the current state of Occupational Health services in the UK. They are conducting a limited number of approx. 70-minute telephone interviews to understand the extent and variation of provision, and the role of employers in reaching under-served groups with needed OH support. The DWP are especially keen to interview NHS Foundation Trusts about their OH provision. IFF Research want to speak to a senior person who has a good overview of the organisation’s approach to delivering OH i.e. the types of services they deliver, how they promote, deliver and charge for their services, workforce composition, recruitment and training. The information you provide with be used by UK Government alongside their recent Occupational Health consultation to shape policy in this area. Would you be willing to help? If you can suggest a couple of potential times that you would be available during the next 2 weeks, please let IFF Research know by sending an email to OccupationalHealth@iffresearch.com and confirming the best telephone number to contact you on. If you have any questions about the research, feel free to contact the IFF Research team at OccupationalHealth@iffresearch.com. If you would like to speak to someone at the DWP about the research, contact 2023.OHProviderSurvey@dwp.gov.uk. If you know of someone else in your organisation who’d be better placed to respond to this, please forward this email onto them.


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