Occupational health doctors today (25 November 2008) welcomed the government's response to Dame Carol Black's report into the health of Britain's working-age population.
The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) believes that the initiatives outlined in today's announcement are a crucial step in addressing the inequality in access to occupational health services. The SOM states that workers in jobs with the highest risk of work-related injuries and illness often have the worst access to workplace healthcare.
"The fact that, for most people, work is good for them has for a long time been overlooked," said Dr Tony Stevens, President of the Society of Occupational Medicine.
"The positive links between work and health need to be recognised by all. Too many people are still told that they can't work, when with specialist occupational health support they can. The SOM is delighted that this government has sought to redress this and promote the health benefits of employment to the entire population."
The SOM also said that, in some difficult cases, GPs will need the ability to refer on to specialist occupational health consultants and other expert professionals.
"The government is moving in the right direction on this," said Professor David Coggon, President of the Faculty of Occupations Medicine. "We particularly applaud their commitment to working in partnership with health professionals, employers and other stakeholders. It is now up to all of us who work in occupational health to ensure that we build on the opportunities presented."