Working for a healthier tomorrow (review of the health of Britain's working age population)

The subject of a review 'Working for a healthier tomorrow', submitted to the
British Secretaries of State for Health and for Work and Pensions is the health
of people of working age, individuals whose health has consequences often far
beyond themselves - touching their families and children, workplaces and wider
communities. The economic costs of ill-health and its impact on work are
measurable and set out for the first time in this Review; but the human costs
are often hidden and privately borne.

At the heart of this Review is a recognition of, and a concern to remedy, the
human, social and economic costs of impaired health and well-being in relation
to working life in Britain. The aim of the Review is not to offer a utopian
solution for improved health in working life. Rather it is to identify the
factors that stand in the way of good health and to elicit interventions,
including changes in attitudes, behaviours and practices - as well as services
- that can help overcome them.

To date, occupational health has been largely restricted to helping those in
employment. But supporting working age health today requires us to reach much
further. It remains critically important to improve health at work and to
enable workers with health problems to stay at work, but occupational health
must also become concerned with helping people who have not yet found work, or
have become workless, to enter or return to work.

Recent evidence suggests that work can be good for health, reversing the
harmful effects of long-term unemployment and prolonged sickness absence. Yet
much of the current approach to the treatment of people of working age,
including the sickness certification process, reflects an assumption that
illness is incompatible with being in work.

Families without a working member are more likely to suffer persistent low
income and poverty. There is also evidence of a correlation between lower
parental income and poor health in children.

Improving the health of the working age population is critically important for
everyone, in order to secure both higher economic growth and increased social

This Review has sought to establish the foundations for a broad consensus
around a new vision for health and work in Britain. At the heart of this vision
are three principal objectives:

  • prevention of illness and promotion of health and well-being;

  • early intervention for those who develop a health condition; and

  • an improvement in the health of those out of work - so that everyone with the
    potential to work has the support they need to do so.

More information

AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work