Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to benefit from new work and health support service

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Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) is set to pilot a new work and health support service to help people with health conditions get back to work.

Due to be rolled out from October the WorkWell service has been developed in LLR as a partnership between University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicestershire Partnership Trust, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council and Rutland County Council and the Integrated Care Board,, working alongside Jobcentre Plus.

The service will link people to local support services, offering tailored help to stay in or return to work. It will focus on people in work who are struggling due to a health condition or disability, those who are on long-term sick leave and at risk of losing their job, or recently unemployed people facing a barrier to return to work due to a health condition or disability.

LLR is one of just 15 areas in England which will benefit from the WorkWell pilot, which is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).

As part of the WorkWell journey, participants – who do not need to be claiming any Government benefits – will work closely with a Work and Health Coach to understand their current health and social barriers to work and draw up a plan to help them overcome them.

These professionals will also provide advice on workplace adjustments, such as flexible working or adaptive technology, facilitate conversations with employers on health needs, and provide access to local services such as physiotherapy, counselling and employment advice.

The service is endorsed by the LLR Health and Wellbeing Partnership, which is co-chaired by Mrs Louise Richardson CC, who is also Chair of the Leicestershire Health and Wellbeing Board, and Simone Jordan, who is also acting Chair of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Integrated Care Board.

Mrs Louise Richardson CC said: “An individual’s disability or health condition should not define whether they remain in the workplace, yet long-term sickness is the most common reason for economic inactivity in the UK. The focus of WorkWell is to support people with a disability and those with long term health conditions to start, stay and succeed in work. This is an excellent opportunity for the Integrated Care System and for its local populations”.

Simone Jordan said: “This funding gives us the opportunity and capacity to join up our work and health landscape at a local level, across LLR, bringing together existing work and health initiatives and assets under one coherent strategy. For our population it will offer targeted support to enable people to move into or back to employment”.

The WorkWell initiative links to the local health inequalities and people agenda, through supporting routes into employment, as well as the wider societal occupational health agenda. The Department of Work and Pensions cites positive work as an important driver of health and wealth for families and communities, benefitting wider society through increased productivity, and laying the groundwork for levelling up local communities.

Across the LLR ICB area there will be a specific focus on those areas with the highest levels of economic inactivity and long-term conditions, particularly musculoskeletal disorders and mental health:

  • Leicester city
  • Charnwood: Loughborough Lemyngton & Hastings, Storer and Queens Park, University, Shelthorpe & Woodthorpe, Syston West and Shepshed East.
  • Harborough: Market Harborough Central.
  • Hinckley and Bosworth: Barwell, Hinckley Central and Hinckley Clarendon Park.
  • North West Leicestershire: Agar Nook, Coalville.
  • Oadby and Wigston: Wigston Town, South Wigston.
  • Rutland: Greetham, Exton, Martinsthorpe, Lyddington, Ketton and Braunston & Belton.

People will be able to self-refer to Workwell, or they can be referred through their employer, primary care providers such as GPs, or local services including Jobcentre Plus.

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