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Stephen  Bevan

Anne Milton MP and health in the workplace

Authors: Stephen Bevan Stephen Bevan

26 July 2010

Last week I was asked, with Dame Carol Black, to brief the new Health Minister, Anne Milton MP, about progress on the Health and Work agenda. She was very supportive of the work which Dame Carol and her team had done to raise the profile of workplace health issues and was keen to support the use of practical tools to help GPs and employers as they, in turn, try to get people with long-term or chronic health conditions back to work. 

As a former nurse, Anne Milton has a good understanding of the issues facing people whose health prevents them from playing a full part in the labour market and she is especially interested in making sure that steps are taken to improve the mental health of the UK workforce. The Boorman Review of the health of the NHS workforce was also of interest to the Minister. The Work Foundation, together with RAND Europe and Aston University, conducted much of the research for the review.

I am now a member of the Department of Health’s ‘Scrutiny Panel’ for the Boorman Review – ensuring that Dr Boorman’s recommendations about improving the wellbeing of NHS staff are being implemented. The Minister said she felt this was an important priority and would be monitoring its progress, especially as the NHS is seeking to reduce levels of sickness absence and, through this, improve the quality of patient care.

The recent health White Paper, while focusing strongly on prevention, makes no substantive mention of the health of the working age population, nor the role of the workplace in promoting better health. However, the Minister reassured me that the workplace would feature prominently in the forthcoming Public Health White Paper. 

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