Free health advice for Norfolk and Suffolk small businesses

Small businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk now have free access to professional occupational health advice to help with individual employee health issues following the launch of a new advice line.

More than £100 billion is lost from the UK’s economy each year because of working-age ill health and sickness absence, of which up to £30-40 billion alone is estimated to be due to mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.

A recent Government report identified a need to provide employers, particularly those in small firms, with easy access to advice on workplace health issues.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Occupational Health department is piloting the free advice service for local businesses that employ 49 staff or less.

Occupational health nurse manager Wendy Goode said: “We have a wealth of experience in workplace health issues and we have a long history of providing a paid for service to both the NHS and other companies.

“It is much harder for small businesses to both cope with workplace health problems and to access expert advice. We are delighted to be taking part in this pilot scheme and we’d urge small businesses locally to take advantage of this free service”.

Employers can call the advice line on 0800 0 77 88 44.

The Department for Work and Pensions is piloting the ‘Health for Work Advice line’ for small business in a total of seven locations in England, and across Scotland and Wales.

“A healthy workforce is key to a successful, healthy business and this free advice line is good news for small businesses,” Saied Khan, Chief Medical Advisor for EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said.

“Employers can now receive professional advice that is tailored to their needs, helping them to retain an employee’s services or assist them back to work sooner after a period of sickness absence.”

The free advice line will run until 31 March 2011.


1. The adviceline pilot in East Anglia covers the following council areas:

• Babergh
• Breckland
• Broadland
• East Cambridgeshire
• Forest Heath
• Great Yarmouth
• Ipswich
• King's Lynn and West Norfolk
• Mid Suffolk
• North Norfolk
• Norwich
• South Norfolk
• St. Edmundsbury
• Suffolk Coastal
• Waveney

2. In England, the free ‘Health for Work Adviceline’ is piloted in East Anglia; Merseyside; North and West Yorkshire; North East; Portsmouth, South Hampshire, East Sussex and Isle of Wight; South Buckinghamshire, South Oxfordshire and West Berkshire; and West London.

3. Professor Sayeed Khan is Chief Medical Officer for EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation. He is Special Professor in Occupational Health, University of Nottingham, a Board Member of the Health & Safety Executive, and is the Health, Work and Wellbeing National Stakeholder Council champion for the advice line project.

4. The free advice line will provide support tailored to the needs of small business employers, helping them to retain an employee’s services or assist them back to work sooner after a period of sickness absence.

Thursday 4th of March 2010 06:00:49 AM