Private sector hails Budget assistance for occupational health service

The private hospitals’ trade body has welcomed announcements in the Budget of plans to make more occupational health services available to the UK’s workforce.

An occupational health subsidy pilot for small businesses will be widened with more funding as the Government seeks to encourage employees to get help while they are still in a job.

A consultation is expected to propose a requirement for employers to provide occupational health services.

David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Prov­iders Net­work, said the Budget announcements highlighting the importance of occupational health services were encouraging. 

With businesses concerned about ever-increasing absence rates and NHS waiting times currently so high, he thought it was good to stimulate employers to provide and develop occupational health so employees could access the right support to keeping them fit and well. 

Mr Hare added: ‘Several of our members already provide vital support to businesses and organisations. This includes services like screenings, health assessments, physiotherapy, nursing, emotional and mental health support, risk assessments or creating ergonomic work environments. 

‘Responsive, high-quality occupational health services can be vital preventative measures or lead to earlier interventions and diagnoses.  

‘All of this can reduce time away from work, as well as the physical and mental stress for everyone concerned. Creating more opportunity for people to benefit from these kinds of services at work can only be a good thing.’