Health led employment trial
Healthcare professionals in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw asked to get involved in new UK trial
Healthcare professionals in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw are being asked by Sheffield City Region, NHS England, the Department of Health, and the Department for Work and Pensions to take part in a new trial called the Health-led Employment Trial. The trial is testing a new form of employment support for people who have a health condition and/or a disability, with the aim of getting people back into work and able to continue working.
Healthcare professionals are asked to identify potential patients who are eligible and refer them on to the trial. Work is underway to make the referral process as easy as possible for practices. Significant work is also underway to make sure patients will fully understand the trial that they are being invited to take part in, including easy read materials that will be available to referrers. A large public facing campaign is being planned by partners, which will include a single point of access for the public to a range of employment support, including the Health-led Employment Trial – the campaign will be known as the ‘WorkingWin’ campaign.
The Health-led Employment Trial is a randomised control trial, meaning people who take part will be randomly placed into one of two research groups. One group will be provided with information about local job services as per usual care, and the other group will be given ongoing employment support from a Job Specialist. The Job Specialist will work with the patient to create a job plan with them and meet with them roughly every two weeks to review the plan. They will also help with any difficulties the patient experiences along the way for a period of up to 12 months.
Nationally the Work and Health Unit invited areas to partner with them and test if a model of employment support, which has worked very well for people with severe mental health issues, would be as effective if modified to help more people with less severe health issues. Over the last year the partners have worked with the Work and Health Unit to develop a programme which will be tested over the next two years. The trial is a randomised control trial in order to give the strongest evidence base about what works to inform future national and local investment.
The partners in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw recognised that with a substantial percentage of people who live in the region out of work, and a lot of people in work struggling to stay in work, due to mental and physical health issues, that involvement in the trial presented a fantastic opportunity for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw patients.
- 300,000 people in work with a long term mental health condition lose their jobs every year. (The Stephenson/Farmer Review, Thriving at Work, October 2017)
- In February 2017 84,380 people claimed Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which is money provided for people who can’t work because of illness or disability
- 63% of ESA claimants have been claiming for over 2 years, with 13% of claimants reporting musculoskeletal conditions as the reason for claiming, and 49.5% reporting mental and behavioural disability
The NIHR Yorkshire and Humber Clinical Research Network, who are supporting the primary care delivery on this work, will shortly be writing to practices to provide further information and ascertain whether you are interested in being part of the trial. Practices will be reimbursed for their time supporting the study.