New Government scheme tackles long term sickness

December 16th 2014 | Posted by Phil Scott

It’s been announced that under a new government scheme, employees who have been on sick leave for 4 weeks or longer, will receive medical support from private companies in a bid to help them back to work quicker.

Run by the Health and Work Service for England, Wales and Scotland, the scheme will focus on providing medical treatment via private providers, funded from the previous compensation given to companies for SSP.

Supporters of the initiative predict that it could reduce ill-health costs for employers by up to £70m a year, and it will instantly make the right healthcare available to everyone, regardless of the size of the company they belong to. Previously, the perception was that great employee healthcare schemes were only available to a small cross-section of businesses and employees.

The process will start with the employer or the GP, as they refer the patient through for private medical attention. This will involve a non-compulsory medical assessment and any relevant treatment. At this stage, if an employee refuses to engage with the programme, they will stop receiving sick notes from their doctor.

The initiative will be phased in between October 2014 and April 2015, while compensation previously given to companies for SSP will be withdrawn from April 2014.

Criticism for the initiative has included claims that the focus is on getting people back to work as opposed to better, but despite this, the pilot run by PMI Health Group received largely positive acclaim from both employee and employers.