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Health & Wellbeing

Health and Wellbeing at Work


Returning to Work After Sickness Absence: Smart Plans Empower Worker and Workplace

13 Mar 2024
Health and Conditions

Maintaining work ability for people with health problems is an unsolved, and a current policy focus. We know from the available scientific evidence much of what works, yet transferring that knowledge has been inconsistent and implementation at scale remains a challenge. The use of ‘smart’ RTW Plans is one potential way to bring all the key players onside and coordinate their actions. A recent Knowledge Transfer Partnership between University of Huddersfield and Swiss Re explored this topic from an innovative angle – that of engaging and empowering the worker to develop their own RTW Plan, along with exploration of alternative implementation routes. This has resulted in a wayfinding approach that is health condition agnostic, can deliver the knowledge, and contains the tools to smooth the journey from sickness absence to work – the ‘smart’ RTW Plan.

Hilary Winch, Chair, NHS Health at Work Network and Head of Workplace Health, Safety & Wellbeing, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Nicola Bullen, Deputy Chair, NHS Health at Work Network and Assistant Director, Occupational Health, Safety & Wellbeing, University Hospitals Derby & Burton NHS Foundation Trust
Prof Kim Burton OBE, Occupational Health Researcher, University of Huddersfield



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