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Guidance issued by the DWP last week on the new Fit for Work scheme makes it clear that referrals can only be made to the scheme with the consent of the employee. It also makes it clear that most health assessments will be carried out over the telephone.

Fit for Work is the new DWP scheme intended to cut sickness absence and ESA claims by getting sick employees back to work more quickly. In England and Wales the scheme has been outsourced to a branch of Maximus, the company also talking over the work capability assessment contract from Atos later this year. In Scotland fit for work is being delivered by the Scottish government.

GPs and employers can refer employees for an occupational health assessment via the Fit for Work service once they have been off sick for a month, provided that there is a reasonable prospect of the employee retuning to work. The employee must consent before a referral can be made.

Fit for work will carry out a ‘biopsychosocial holistic assessment’ of the employee over the telephone and draw up a return to work plan on the basis of that call. In a small number of cases a face-to-face assessment will be carried out.

For GPs, the attraction of a referral is that once a return to work plan has been drawn up by Fit for Work the GP will no longer be responsible for providing sick notes.

Employers receive a tax exemption of up to £500 per year, per employee on medical treatments recommended by Fit for Work to help their employees return to work.

Download Fit for Work guidance for employees here.

Download Fit for Work guidance for employers here.

Download Fit for Work guidance for GPs here.


+1 #3 Looby 2015-01-10 03:39
Biopsychosocial .......What does that mean exactly. To my knowledge this psychological approach has never been tested to prove its validity. I think there was a political party in Germany who were the first inventors of this kind of approach around the time of WW2 which the governments 'Nudge Unit' aka Behavioural Insights Team are developing and enshrining in Tory Policies.

I would urge individuals to stay as far away as possible from anything that gives all your personal circumstances to the DWP, They state in their documentation that data is shared by Maximus and the DWP. this all sounds a lot to me like Psychological Profiling.

Their leaflets are very 'Encouraging' but really scant on detail, and as we all know, the devil is usually in the Detail.

I recall reading their initial policy documents on their intentions with this new policy, and it did not read in quite the same, helpful way.
+1 #2 carruthers 2015-01-08 01:23
"‘biopsychosocial holistic assessment’ "

We all know what that means.
Certainly all those of us with ME/CFS know - it means that it's all your fault for being someone who retreats into sickness as an easy way out. And what you need is long walks, cold showers and a good talking to.

The only division is between those who think that that talking should be done by a trained psychotherapist and those who think it can be done by a half-trained nurse employed by Maximus.

Guess which the DWP would pick.
+2 #1 papasmurf 2015-01-06 15:40
"‘biopsychosoci al holistic assessment’ "

We all know what that means.

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