The government’s ‘Fit for Work’ referral service ends 31st March 2018

The government announced in December that it’s ‘Fit for Work' referral service will end in England and Wales on 31st March and in Scotland on 31st May.

The FT Adviser cited that “there were just 650 referrals a month in England and Wales, compared with the original forecast of 34,000”.

A survey by GP magazine also found that 65% of GPs hadn’t referred a single patient to the service. Furthermore, a study by Willis Towers Watson last March uncovered that only 21 of HR professionals said they had used it.

The main reasons cited for the low usage of the Fit for Work service are:

•    A large skills shortage of trained occupational health specialists making the scheme impossible on a practical level
•    A £500 limit on rehabilitation costs 
•    A lack of publicity leading to low uptake numbers
•    The ability to opt out at any stage of the service by either the employer or the employee making a return to work

     resolution extremely difficult

Whilst the main part of the Fit for Work service is ending 31st March the Government will keep the helpline and website open to provide advice for employers, employees and GPs on occupational health issues.

For more information on the changes to the Fit for Work scheme, occupational health questions or any other issues in your newsletter you'd like further information on, please call us on 01733 217 690.