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Free ‘Health for Work Advice line’ for Norfolk and Suffolk small businesses

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— Wednesday March 03, 2010 16:21 PM

Small businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk now have free access to professional occupational health advice to help with individual employee health issues following the launch of a new advice line.

More than £100 billion is lost from the UK’s economy each year because of working-age ill health and sickness absence, of which up to £30-40 billion alone is estimated to be due to mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.

A recent Government report identified a need to provide employers, particularly those in small firms, with easy access to advice on workplace health issues.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Occupational Health department is piloting the free advice service for local businesses that employ 49 staff or less.

Occupational health nurse manager Wendy Goode said:

“We have a wealth of experience in workplace health issues and we have a long history of providing a paid for service to both the NHS and other companies.
“It is much harder for small businesses to both cope with workplace health problems and to access expert advice. We are delighted to be taking part in this pilot scheme and we’d urge small businesses locally to take advantage of this free service”.

Employers can call the advice line on 0800 0 77 88 44.

The Department for Work and Pensions is piloting the ‘Health for Work Advice line’ for small business in a total of seven locations in England, and across Scotland and Wales.

“A healthy workforce is key to a successful, healthy business and this free advice line is good news for small businesses,” Saied Khan, Chief Medical Advisor for EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said.
“Employers can now receive professional advice that is tailored to their needs, helping them to retain an employee’s services or assist them back to work sooner after a period of sickness absence.”

The free advice line, delivered by NHS Plus, will run until 31 March 2011.

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