People with long-term conditions are being helped back to work through an NHS Lanarkshire and Jobcentre Plus partnership initiative.
The Condition Management Programme (CMP) is part of Pathways to Work, which aims to help as many of Lanarkshire’s 47,000 incapacity benefit clients back to work as possible in the first year of their claim.
To date the scheme has helped more than 3000 people on their journey to work.
And returning to employment can be hugely beneficial to people’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Mark Kennedy, the project director, said: “A key part of this programme is we’re giving people the support they need to help themselves.
“We can help people who have been unable to work to understand their condition and learn to manage it.
“This helps improve their confidence and general wellbeing and helps them to consider returning to the workplace.”
There is strong evidence to suggest that gaining work for an unemployed individual is the best therapeutic intervention possible for them.
Mark continued: “The reduction in mental ill-health, particularly in people with anxiety and depressive illness is substantial.
“There are some areas of good practice within the NHS, however, more health professionals need to consider introducing the possibility of their patient gaining employment as part of their care pathway where appropriate.”
There are three main health conditions which affect incapacity benefit claimants: mental ill health, cardio-respiratory problems and musculo-skeletal problems.
Individuals can be referred to the CMP, which has been running since August 2006, by Jobcentre Plus advisors.
All health professionals can encourage their patients to engage the programme by calling their local Jobcentre and enquiring regarding Pathways or calling the NHS Lanarkshire Health and Work support line on 0800 141 2865.
Once on the programme they will be assessed by clinical staff within the team who will provide tailored sessions to meet their individual needs to help them return to work.
Activities in these sessions include: access to exercise in your local area – such as swimming or gym membership - fitness classes; stress management classes; pain management programmes; advice and information on healthy and positive lifestyles; and various self help sessions.
Most of these tailored sessions take between four to 14 weeks to complete.
For further information on the CMP contact either Patsy Cavanagh, team leader for South Lanarkshire, on 01698 456266, or Elaine Little, team leader for the north, on 01236 438108.
Alternatively visit the CMP
pages in Our Services section.