The FSEM responded to the Work,Health and Disability Consultation on the 17 February 2017, key points included:
- Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are a leading cause of inability to work and working days lost.[i] Physician led workplace wellness schemes are highly cost effective[ii]
- Sport and Exercise Medicine has the skills and knowledge to lead clinical vocational multi-disciplinary teams which can improve health and employment outcomes in the community.
- Early assessment for musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions is key via a community-based Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) team who can provide functional analysis of limitations and abilities and decide on the optimal care pathway in order to meet health and employment needs.
- NHS Commissioners need to see exemplar service-delivery models drawn from existing instances of best practice, this exists within Sport and Exercise Medicine MSK models of care.
- There is a need to develop integration between Clinical Vocational multi-disciplinary teams and Jobcentres to integrate healthcare, social care and the department of Work and Pensions.
- There needs to be a broader understanding of the nature of specific disabilities in order to identify opportunities and mitigate limitations within the workplace.
- Where medical issues arise and are identified by clinicians, adaptations should be made swiftly with funding from Social Services or Department of Work and Pensions to enable continued employment.
- Access to employment support can be improved via different avenues of referral including Exercise Medicine and physical activity referral schemes.
- Graduated return-to-work (GroW) programmes are effective. Learning can be taken from sport and team medical care where a prescriptive period of appropriate goal-based rehab and a graduated return to performance/work is already being used.
[i] Arthritis Research UK (2016). Working with arthritis.
[ii] Sport and Exercise Medicine A Fresh Approach NHS North West (2011)
Image Courtesy of the Work Health and Disability Green Paper October 2016