Headlines: November 23rd, 2001

The NHS has set up NHS Plus to market occupational health to the private sector. All the profits will be reinvested back into the NHS. The new organization will offer services to British businesses who every year lose seven million working days to stress related illnesses at a cost of ?5 billion. Back pain is also a major problem with 15 per cent of unemployed people highlighting it as their reason for not working. Income will be generated from providing occupational health services, such as immunisation, pre-employment screening and insurance medicals for businesses.Occupational Health Services provided by the NHS ensure that employees of small to medium enterprises are in a job and working environment for which they are physically and mentally suited and which protects and promotes their health. The service is delivered by a team of NHS staff, often led by nurses and assisted by a number of different professional agencies such as physiotherapists, psychologists, counsellors and safety officers.

Business are given advice on how to draw up an occupational health action plan at www.nhsplus.nhs.uk   <http://www.nhsplus.nhs.uk> It explains that everyone in the business should be aware of key procedures such as risk assessment, inspection, investigation and training.