February bulletin

/Board members/Shriti_Pattani

Dear Colleagues

As many of you are aware we have been undertaking a project to support the revision of the Green Book chapters. I would like to thank all Network Members and ANHOPs who have contributed to this work. Mary Ramsay (Head of Immunisation - Public Health England) and the green book team have expressed their thanks. The Hepatitis B chapter will be the first to be updated. I will keep you posted.

We have added some information on our website about the close links we have formed with the Practitioner Health Programme (PHP), which is a free confidential NHS funded service supporting doctors and dentists with mental and physical health problems and addictions. At present the service is available to all doctors in London but only GPs in the rest of the country. The service will shortly be rolled out to all doctors across England. The information on our website is supplemented by the experience of a junior doctor who benefited from support from PHP and OH. I recently attended the London MDT meeting held by PHP. There will be opportunities for others who are interested to attend once they have expanded across England.

After 3 years David Maslen-Jones is stepping down as Deputy Chair this March. I would like to thank David for his excellent support and contribution to the Network over the years.

Shriti Pattani
Network Chair

The next edition will be circulated on 6th March 2019.

In this edition:

1. Network Deputy Chair vacancy
2. Key messages from the January Board meeting
3. MoHaWK – Round 14
4. Green Book review
5. Joint response to NHS long term plan
6. SOM awards
7. Health and Wellbeing at Work 2019
8. Lungs at Work courses
9. Work and Health Unit commissioned resource to support GPs in identifying work modifications – user testing
10. Flu fighter update
11. NHS Employers update


1. Network Deputy Chair vacancy

As mentioned in the Chair's opening remarks, we will be sorry to lose David Maslen-Jones as Deputy Chair of the Network and thank him for his considerable input over the years.

We are now seeking a new Deputy, whose role will include:

  • Chair meetings of the Board in the absence of the Chairperson, and attend the Board meetings
  • Support the Chair in the discharge of her/his responsibilities
  • Represent the Network Board at specific external functions and speaking opportunities

The appointment will initially be for 2 years, with an option to extend to a maximum of 4 years with the approval of the Board. The successful candidate will not automatically progress to appointment as the full Chair of the Network but will have the opportunity to apply through a competitive process.  The Deputy Chair has a seat on the Network Board will full voting powers.

The Deputy Chair role is open to anyone employed on a substantive contract by a Network member and is not restricted to current Board members/regional representatives.  It is a great opportunity to become involved in OH issues at a strategic and national level and with the running of the Network.  The role is an honorary role, although expenses are paid for attendance at meetings and events.

Further information is available from admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk and an application form is available here.  For an informal discussion please contact Shriti Pattani (shritipattani@nhs.net).  Completed applications should be returned to Wendy Coleman (admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk) by close of play on Thursday 28th February 2019.

2. Key messages from the January Board meeting

The Network Board met in January. Network members can see the key messages from the meeting here.

3. MoHaWK

Round 14 – data input extended

Several services have indicated that need some extra time to complete their data input for Round 14. Therefore, we will extend until mid-late February.
For those who haven’t thought about entering data, this will give you the opportunity to collate data even if it is for just one indicator or one subject area.
Any queries, please do contact hilary.winch@nnuh.nhs.uk

4. Joint response to NHS long term plan

The NHS Health at Work Network, the Faculty of Occupational Medicine and the Society of Occupation Medicine have issued a joint response to NHS England’s long term plan for the NHS.

A copy of the response is available here.

5. Green Book review

Over the past few months, we have been working with PHE to identify areas of the Green Book which would benefit from input by occupational health. Members of the Network volunteered to undertake this work and comments on the relevant chapters have been finalised and sent to PHE. These Network members will now provide a link into the Network as each chapter comes up for review. It is understood that the chapters on Hep A and Hep will be the first to be reviewed.

6. SOM awards

The Society of Occupational Medicine has developed a new awards scheme demonstrating the value of occupational health to organisations and the wider community. The programme welcomes entries from all occupational health practitioners and teams. There is a choice of four awards to enter:

  • Outstanding Occupational Health Initiative
  • Outstanding Occupational Health Practitioner
  • Outstanding Contribution by an Employer to Workplace Health and Wellbeing 
  • Outstanding Occupational Health Team

The awards will be presented at the SOM / FOM conference in Bristol in June 2019 at the SOM AGM.  The closing date for entries is 19th April 2019

Full details available here. Please send your award submission(s) via the online form.

7. Health and Wellbeing at Work 2019

Registration is now open for Health and Wellbeing at Work, the UK’s leading event for improving the health, safety, wellbeing and performance of work-aged people.

Now in its 13th successful year, it combines 21 conference programmes with workshops and an exhibition. This year sees the introduction of a dedicated conference programme for the NHS workplace, profiling innovation and best practice within the NHS workforce. Look out for leading experts from NHS England, NHS Improvement and NHS Employers discussing the new NHS Health and Wellbeing Framework, plus successful strategies for reducing sickness absence, improving resilience, protecting workers and cultivating a culture of wellbeing.

To register and view the full programme visit www.healthwellbeingwork.co.uk.

8. Lungs at Work courses

The Heart and Lung Institute is offering the following courses in London:

  • Lung Function Testing in the Workplace - Introductory Level - Wednesday 6 March 2019
  • Lung Function Testing in the Workplace – Intermediate Level - Thursday 4 April 2019
  • Introductory Medical Statistics (2 day course) - Thursday 23 to Friday 24 May 2019
  • Occupational Lung Disease – Keeping Up to Date – 12 September 2019

FOM accreditation has been requested for all the above courses. Further information and registrations details are available on the course webpage or in the newsletter.

9. Work and Health Unit commissioned resource to support GPs in identifying work modifications – user testing

You will probably be aware that the Work and Health Unit (WHU), as part of its “Improving Lives” strategic programme, has identified a need to provide additional support resources to Doctors, to help them in supporting patients to identify work adjustments to improve workability and improve recovery.

In 2017 the Work and Health Unit completed an internal review of the operation of the fit note – informed by the Improving Lives Green Paper consultation responses and extensive stakeholder engagement. The review concluded that the fit note remains an important tool, but it is not always used effectively across the system to support people staying in or returning to work. It is still the case that too many fit notes say ‘not fit for work’ when people ‘may be fit for work’ as long as appropriate workplace adjustments are made.

The Government is keen to promote that, when individuals consult with GPs, they will receive work-related advice and supportive engagement about workplace adjustments. This is based on the understanding that good work is good for health. It is the intention that doctors are supported in having these conversations and other parts of the strategic programme are undertaking work to support employers and employees in having the discussions to enable medical advice to result in positive agreed actions to enable working, where possible.

The Council for Work and Health was commissioned to research and develop this work and a dedicated researcher was used to review published literature, collate existing available resources and to develop content. Council members and other contacts have been actively consulted during this development process and much work has been done to date.

You will also be aware from recent consultation that work has been underway to revisit the “Work as a Clinical Outcome” consensus statement due for relaunch shortly. The “Work as a Clinical Outcome” consensus statement reminds all healthcare workers that such conversations are an important part of clinical practice.  This resource is primarily aimed at GPs to help support their medical consultations and consideration of “Fit note” options, and whilst this resource seeks to be used in a medical context we have tried to balance some clear advice that most work adjustments are simple and practical arrangements.

You are invited to contribute to user testing this resource as part of its continued development – we are keen to understand views regarding its content, accessibility and usefulness. Accessing the link will trigger a short feedback survey which will be in place over the next month’s testing period. We will then take stock and evaluate the feedback in consultation with the Work and Health Unit in order to finalise a resource, which is planned to be freely accessible via the Council for Work and Health website from April 2019.

This resource has been developed for use by doctors during their clinical consultations with patients, it is illustrated with some simple case studies and there may be opportunity to add to these later.

This is still work in progress, and this link will give free access to the current version, which we are keen to now seek further feedback and evaluation upon.

If you follow the link it will take you to the Council for Work and Health’s website and the relevant resource page. The resource can be read from start to finish if preferred, but we anticipate users will jump to relevant sections, links or case studies and that in time we can provide more relevant linked content applicable to wider stakeholders. The evaluation resource will generate a simple survey on closing.

You can user test the resource until 17th February.

10. Flu fighter update

December 2018 uptake figures

The latest flu figures released by Public Health England show that a total of 672,032 staff have been vaccinated, which represents 65.8 per cent of eligible frontline healthcare workers. Most importantly, this is an increase of 30,432 more staff than received their flu vaccine in the same period last year. 

Read our summary of the most improved and top performing acute, mental health, ambulance and community trusts and see how well your trust has performed.

Public Health England flu letter
A new flu letter has been released which provides further information around which seasonal flu vaccines are currently licensed and available to order for use in the UK for the 2019/20 season.  The letter contains a summary table with recommended vaccines, costs, and suppliers. 

Flu fighter conference
The annual flu fighter conference will take place on 25 March 2019, at the Midland Hotel in Manchester and will run from 10am to 3pm. We have a packed agenda with speakers showcasing the latest innovative strategies to improving uptake. It’s also a great opportunity to share good practice on a range of topics and network with fellow flu leads.

Places are on a first come, first served basis, so make sure you book your place today.

11. NHS Employers update

Bookings now open for our health and wellbeing conference
Our second health and wellbeing conference will take place on Wednesday 13 March 2019, at Horizon Leeds. This free conference is for NHS health and wellbeing leads to come together, hear the latest thinking on health and wellbeing, share good practice and learn how to overcome challenges. Book your place now. 

Supporting new starters
A new starter's experience in the first six months at an organisation determines whether they stay for the long term, making this a crucial period in terms of retaining staff. Take a look at the new resources to help develop or refine your approach to supporting new starters.

Create your own benefits leaflet
This new template helps you create your own benefits leaflet to promote reward offers to potential employees and your existing workforce. Take a look at how the recruitment team at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust used the template to outline the key aspects of their reward offer.

NHS staff sickness absence data for August 2018
Take a look at the latest sickness absence figures released by NHS Digital. Our action on sickness absence web pages can help you to take a more targeted and effective approach to reducing sickness absence.
Pay progression resources published
The new pay progression system will come into effect on 1 April 2019. Download a suite of resources for organisations, managers and staff to prepare you for implementation of the pay progression framework. You can also join the new pay progression system webinar on 8 February at 12pm for more information.


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.

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 shritipattani@nhs.net
Andrew Gilbey, Network Manager andrew.gilbey25@gmail.com
Wendy Coleman, Network Administrator admin@nhshealthatwork.co.uk

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