Fit for Work Team in Running for Medical “Oscar”

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The Leicestershire Fit for Work Service have reached the final four in the “Working in Partnership” category of the BMJ Awards which are the equivalent of the “Oscars” of the medical world.

An innovative healthcare service has been short-listed for a top national award by the world renowned medical publishers, the BMJ Group. The Leicestershire Fit for Work Service have reached the final four in the “Working in Partnership” category of the BMJ Awards, which are the equivalent of the “Oscars” of the medical world. The final decision on the awards will be made at a ceremony at the London Hilton Hotel on May 23rd.

Simon Calvert, Managing Director of the Leicestershire Fit for Work Service says, “The service we provide is breaking new ground in healthcare and involves careful collaboration with a range of healthcare providers and other services. To be recognised at national level for the excellence of our partnership work is a tribute to the professionalism of the team we have working on the project.”

The Fit for Work service was established in 2010 and aims to reduce sickness absence in companies by case-managed interventions to facilitate an earlier return to work. The team have had over a thousand referrals from GP’s across Leicestershire since they were established, most of which are people who are struggling with mental health or musculo-skeletal problems. Of people who engage with the service 77% return to or stay at work.

Dr Rob Hampton, Clinical Lead for the service says, “In 2008, a government report highlighted the complex network of factors which contribute to people being off work on a long term basis and the need for early intervention. It was this challenge that led the team to develop this innovative pilot for Leicestershire. The success of our approach is of benefit to individuals, companies and the economy as a whole. Work is a fundamental aspect of the human being as a social animal. Being in work, as opposed to being on benefits, is now proven to improve a person’s health. Encouraging more people to work, whatever their problem, is good for local business, the economy, but most importantly to the person’s own health.”

The BMJ awards shortlist highlights how the Leicestershire team built a partnership to create a commissioning group to successfully bid for the pilot project in liaison with a multidisciplinary team to deliver the service. The partnership was built from seven local commissioning bodies including JobCentre Plus, both Primary Care Trusts in the county and both Local Authorities. The team of fourteen people delivering the service are from five local organisations.

Calvert observes, “When you are dealing with complex issues that cut across the remits of a number of organisations it is necessary for those organisations to work together in a co-ordinated partnership. It is the success of this unique partnership, working in collaboration, which has helped us to deliver a service that has been recognised by this nomination.”

Media Contact
Andrew Third, Integra Communications Ltd, 0115 912 4350, andrew(at)integracommunications(dot)co(dot)uk

Notes for Editors
Simon Calvert and/or Dr Rob Hampton are available for interview by arrangement through the media contact above.

Example case studies can be made available but the material will be anonymised.

Leicestershire Fit for Work

The Fit for Work Service in Leicestershire provides early intervention, designed to enable those in danger of long term sickness absence to return to work as quickly as possible. The services provide one to one case management to help individuals access the help they need and to work with employer and employee to achieve an outcome which ensures continuing employment and minimises the absence period.

The service is a pilot programme, funded by central government, looking at the best ways to provide early intervention support for which present health and employment services do not provide a systematic pathway.
The service is looking to work with the media to build awareness, particular among businesses, of the benefits of early intervention to avoid long term absence. Keeping people in work also has significant social and economic benefits.

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