Allied Healthcare Professionals - Health and Work

How AHPs are Supporting the Health and Work Agenda

The Role of AHPs in the Health and Work Agenda

Good work - a safe and secure job with good working hours and conditions, supportive management and opportunities for training and development – has a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing. Unemployment, by contrast, is associated with an increased risk of mortality and morbidity. 

It is, therefore, important for individuals, employers, the NHS and the wider economy to have work environments which are beneficial for health and to reduce the barriers that people with long-term conditions and disabilities face to gaining and retaining employment.

 

Allied Health Professionals can support this ‘health and work agenda’ at universal, targeted, and specialist levels.

  • At the universal level, all AHPs should understand the link between health and work, be able to ask people about if and how their health condition, injury or disability is affecting their work, and signpost service-users to further support.
  • At the targeted level, many AHPs can help children’s early development and educational outcomes (which, in turn, has a bearing on their employment opportunities); help people to remain in or return to work by supporting self-management and advising on reasonable adjustments; and offer health promotion services within workplaces.
  • At the specialist level, some AHPs are employed in occupational health or vocational rehabilitation services with a focus on supporting people with health conditions or disabilities to find employment, make a sustained return to work, or to prevent and treat work-related health issues.

 

Who is this resource for 

This resource aims to support AHPs to make the most of the opportunities they have to support people to be healthy in and through work, and to encourage employers, funders and commissioners to fully harness the skills which AHPs have to further the health and work agenda.

We have sought to make a resource which is relevant to each of the four nations of the UK, and all of the professions who are considered to belong to the AHP family in either Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or England. 

How to use this resource

Click on The Relationship Between Health and Work, to find out more about how different health conditions affect people's ability to work, and how good work can support health and wellbeing. As well as a general overview, you can explore how the two-way relationship between work and the following conditions, and how AHPs' routine practice is able to make a positive impact:

  • Mental health
  • Muscoloskeletal disorders
  • Cancer
  • Visual Impairments
  • Long Covid
  • Speech, language and communication needs

Click on How AHPs are Supporting the Health and Work Agenda, for information, case studies, and resources about how AHPs are involved in:

  • Supporting children and young people’s educational outcomes 
  • Asking the Work Question
  • Supporting people with health conditions or disabilities to remain in, or return to, work
  • Workplace Health Promotion
  • Occupational Health Services
  • Supported and Sheltered Employment 

Download the policy paper How AHPs can best support the health and work agenda to read our research on what AHPs are already doing in this field and how commissioners, employers, funders and policymakers can optimise AHPs' opportunities and skills to have an ever greater impact on the health of the UK's workforce.

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the Welsh Government which funded this project on behalf of the UK AHP Public Health Strategy Board. We are also grateful for the support of our Advisory Group members, the organisations which provided case studies, and the professional bodies representing each of the Allied Health Professions.