UK Government launches ‘workwell’ to help people back to work

A new work and health support service will be rolled out across 15 areas of England as part of the Government’s plan to help people with health conditions back to work.

The WorkWell pilots – launched by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) – will connect 59,000 people from October to local support services including physiotherapy and counselling so they can get the tailored help they need to stay in or return to work.  

It comes after the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a package of welfare reforms to modernise the benefit system and help thousands more people into work, including a review of ‘fit notes’, and to deliver personalised work and health plans that prevent people from falling out of work and onto long-term sickness benefits. 

Participants do not need to be claiming any Government benefits and will receive personalised support from a Work and Health Coach to understand their current health and social barriers to work and draw up a plan to help them overcome them. The Government claims that evidence shows that work is an effective way to improve wellbeing – reducing the risk of depression, improving physical health, and building self-confidence and financial independence.  

Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride MP, said: “We are rolling out the next generation of welfare reforms so that thousands more people can gain all the benefits work brings.

Too many today are falling out of work in a spiral of sickness that harms their finances, their prospects and ultimately their health, where with the right workplace adjustments and help, this needn’t be the case.

“And so we have designed WorkWell, a groundbreaking new service, that will for the first time integrate health and work advice at the local level, as part of our plan to stem the flow into economic inactivity, grow the economy, and change lives for the better.”

Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins MP, said: “Too often, people with disabilities or poor health fall out of work with no support.

“We have a plan to change that and improve lives so everyone has the opportunity to find fulfilling work. This service will help tens of thousands of people, who will receive joined-up work and health support, tailored to their individual needs.

“This service, alongside a faster, simpler and fairer health service, will build a healthier workforce, and a stronger economy.”

WorkWell is for anyone with a health condition or disability, including mental health conditions, who wants to work. It is a voluntary service, so people will be able to self-refer, or may be referred to WorkWell through their GP, employer or the community sector.  

WorkWell pilots will take place within the following areas:  

  1. Birmingham and Solihull
  2. Black Country
  3. Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire 
  4. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
  5. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
  6.  Coventry and Warwickshire
  7. Frimley
  8. Herefordshire and Worcestershire
  9. Greater Manchester
  10. Lancashire and South Cumbria
  11. Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
  12. North Central London
  13. North West London
  14. South Yorkshire
  15. Surrey Heartlands

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