Health and Safety – Mind the gap!
Friday 17 February 2017
Dr Adrian Massey BSc BM MRCP FFOM
Deputy Chief Medical Officer GMC No. 4423429
Duradiamond Health Partners
Society, and work, have changed radically over the last century. Demographics, better living conditions, safer jobs and improved medical care mean that people are living longer than ever before, and increasingly with long-term medical conditions. As the current crisis in health and social care illustrates, there are worsening strains on public services as a result. Helping to keep people in work to the greatest possible extent despite their health problems – to reduce costs to employers and the state, and to maximise tax revenues for the exchequer – is becoming an urgent social policy objective.
So, how effective is the traditional ‘health and safety’ approach, used by employers and occupational health services, at helping to keep people well and in work? In the UK about 70% of all sickness absence is the result of ‘common health problems’ – typically minor, short-lived and spontaneously resolving conditions such as backache that, in many cases, don’t need to prevent the person from working. Why do they remain the cause of so much absence – is ‘health and safety’ working… and might it even be making things worse?
Dr Adrian Massey qualified in 1997. He is an Accredited Specialist in Occupational Medicine, a Fellow of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine and sits on the Executive of the Society of Occupational Medicine. He has been a Medical Director of the UK’s largest provider of outsourced occupational health services and, since joining Duradiamond Healthcare recently as their Deputy Chief Medical Officer, he is currently involved in developing a class-leading case management service for employers. During his career to date he has been the lead clinical adviser for a wide range of organisations across most parts of the public and private sector including police forces, financial firms, local government, education, government agencies, insurers, hoteliers, charities, retailers, engineering, construction, logistics and media/telecommunications.