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Vocational Rehabilitation What Works , for Whom , and When ?

by Gordon Waddell, Kim Burton, Nicholas Kendall
Vocational Rehabilitation Task Group ()
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There is consensus among all the key stakeholders – unions, employers, insurers, healthcare professionals - on the need to improve vocational rehabilitation in the UK1. This is a fundamental part of the strategy to improve the health of adults of working age (Black 2008; HM Government 2005; HSC 2000). At an individual level, the goals are better health and work outcomes for people who suffer injury, illness or disability (Waddell & Burton 2006). At a policy level, the goals are a) to reduce thenumber of people who move onto and remain on disability and incapacity benefits whenthey still have (some) capacity for (some) work, and b) to increase employment rates. An increasing number of large UK employers now offer ‘vocational rehabilitation’, most commonly in the form of access to medical or surgical treatment, occupational health or case management, or flexible working (CBI/AXA 2007). However, there are questions about the nature and effectiveness of the services provided. There are similar questions about whether healthcare is as good as it could be at getting people back to work (Norwich Union Healthcare 2006).

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