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“2020health is an important and thoughtful contributor to the health debate”

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee


Press Release Healthy workforce is essential to deliver emergency budget cuts says leading think tank

2020health calls for urgent cross departmental action and a ‘work focused’ NHS to curb mounting welfare payout.

In the new report Health, disease and unemployment: The Bermuda Triangle of Society, 2020health urges the Government to support good health at work, if it is to deliver on its emergency budget commitment of £11 billion in welfare savings. Health has a major impact of employment and productivity, the annual cost of absence and worklessness associated with working age ill health is estimated at over £100 billion (600 000 new incapacity claims made annually). The new report identifies cost effective measures to achieve priority savings in the welfare budget, without having to dismantle the welfare ‘safety net’ (in tough economic times).

Co‐author and 2020health Chief Exec, Julia Manning said, “We are recommending a redoubling of cross departmental efforts to support work participation, earlier intervention, and practical behavioural changes among frontline professionals and employers that tally with the government’s need to do more for less. Central to this is the ‘Big Society’ approach – increasing opportunities for voluntary sector providers that have a proven record of success, such as Tomorrow’s People.”

“We urge government to recognise work as a health outcome because health is central to the ability to work and work is central to good health”, says Dr Jonathan Shapiro, main report author and Consultant Director at 2020health.

Debbie Scott, Chief Exec of Tomorrow’s People commented, “Tomorrow’s People have seen the transformational effect of a return to work on the lives of people who have been out of employment long term due to ill health. In our view, the social return on investment of getting people back into the workplace is clear, but we have been frustrated to date by the lack of support for innovations which focus on the work and health arena. The message of this report is loud and clear that we must make every effort to help people overcome their personal barriers so that they can turn their lives around through work”.

The report recommends:
• Work should be adopted by the NHS as a legitimate clinical outcome of treatment and management. Supporting people to return to work should be a key objective of all health services.
• Strengthen the formal links and increase joint working between the DWP and DH, through the health and work directorate led by Dame Carol Black.
• Promote earlier intervention of conditions that could lead to work absence, and increase awareness of the role of appropriate prescribing in helping people to participate in work and to offset the long term cost of degenerating conditions.
• Refocus the incentive structure for health professionals and review medical training to bring about a behavioural shift away from symptom management, towards tangible “whole‐patient” outcomes like work participation.
• The role of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) should evolve to consider mental health and a reduction in work related stress.
• Better access to occupational health services and physiotherapy within GP premises to help with the implementation of the new ‘Fit Note’.


Notes to Editors


2020health is an independent, grass-roots, think tank for health and technology interested in realistic solutions.

What we do
• Identifying issues and bringing informed people together to create solutions.
• Demonstrating how to improve health and quality of life through successful commissioning, competition and technology.
• Exploring the benefits of public and private cooperation.
• Examining the consequences of healthcare decisions on society, lifestyle and culture.
• Ensure policy reflects grass-roots wisdom and experience of professionals.
• Broaden involvement and debate on key concerns to give value for money.
• Build on the achievements of the present to create the vision for improved healthcare.
• Combining the experience of practitioners, experts and policy makers in the public and private sector through projects, research publications and debates.
• Restoring trust, confidence and responsibility to professionals and enabling people to have their say through active participation and networking.
• Publicising our work through the press, events and meetings with policy makers.
We are based in the heart of Westminster.
Current Interests
Commissioning; Mental health; Elderly care; Work and wellbeing; NHS IT; Value-based pricing; Long term conditions; Health and social care integration.