Fit for Work scheme to end in 2018

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Health have announced that from 31st March 2018 in England and 31st May 2018 in Scotland the government-funded Fit for Work occupational health service will cease to take on new cases due to low take-up.

Fit for Work was launched in December 2014 as a referral service of GPs, the service was then extended to allow employers to refer staff in September 2015.

A high take-up was expected with a study from the DWP suggesting that GPs alone could refer between 310,000 and 450,000 people to the service each year. However, in October 2016 a debate in the House of Lords revealed that Fit for Work had seen fewer than 10,000 referrals in its first full year of operation.

The decision to end the service came as part of the government’s response to a consultation on disabled people in the workplace.

After the service ends, employers, employees and GPs will still have access to support via its website, webchat and helpline services, which offer general health and work advice as well as support on sickness absence.

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