“I’m looking forward to the forthcoming Health and Wellbeing conference, hosted in Salford University on the 4th December! There are some excellent, experienced speakers, with a wealth of knowledge on workplace health.
It’s an exciting time to be working in the field- as I enter my 31st year in occupational health I am struck by the fact that we do seem to have more awareness and impetus behind the work and health agenda than at any other time in my career. Dame Gina Radford – the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England and DWP’s Chief Medical Officer articulated this by saying ““we have an unprecedented opportunity and the pace of change and willingness to make change is like nothing I have experienced before” and it is good to see the multiple programmes that the “Improving Lives” Command paper strategy has generated taking shape. As Chair of the Council for Work and Health, I see our multidisciplinary membership actively contributing and supporting the work.
Since the research of Gordon Waddell and Kim Burton, commissioned by the HSE over ten years ago, we have known that there is a good evidence base for work being important to health and, a few years later, I was at the launch of Professor Sir Michael Marmot’s review of the underpinning causes of health inequalities across the UK. I remember Michael describing that even in 2009, if he got on his bicycle and cycled from the East End of London towards Westminster – life expectancy in the local population changed by some 15 years across the short journey and in my presentation at Salford I will use the example of the Argyle train line in Glasgow. For each stop you take heading East, life expectancy for men decreases by 1.7 years and for women by 1.2 years!
Healthy work is key to improving the health of our nation and sick absence, and sick presence has high consequence – to workers, employers and to our economy. I hope as we enter the second year of the “Improving Lives” ten year strategy, to enable one million people with illness or disability to remain in or return to work, that we do learn from the messages being conveyed in the Salford conference. Unless we change cultures and behaviours – amongst employees, employers, healthcare practitioners and policy makers, we can’t address the simple fact that good work is good for health and benefits a successful society!
I value the opportunity to speak on the programme in Salford and look forward to hearing the other speakers presentations.”
Dr Steven Boorman CBE
Director Employee Health Empactis
Chair Council for Work and Health