The Government has announced that its new Health and Work Service in England and Wales will be delivered by Health Management Limited (HML) and will be launched in late 2014 with a phased roll-out coming to a close by the end of May 2015. Discussions will take place with HML to confirm the exact approach to, and timings of, the roll-out. The new service is designed to help employees and employers to manage sickness absence and follows the Government’s concerns over statistics which showed that 960,000 employees were on sick leave for a month or more each year on average between September 2010 and October 2013. Employees on sick leave will be helped to return to work by providing them with an occupational health assessment when they reach, or are expected to reach, more than 4 weeks’ sickness absence. Employees will normally be referred by their GPs. A resulting return to work plan will be shared with their employer and GP. More general health and work advice will be available to GPs, employers and employees via telephone and a website.
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