A pioneering scheme which aims to help people with health problems find and stay in work is now being supported by more than 200 businesses and 100 GPs.
The “Working Win” health-led employment trial has been running for around two months, and has already received almost 800 referrals from people in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.
The scheme, funded by the Government’s Work and Health Unit and delivered by Sheffield City Region in partnership with South Yorkshire Housing Association and local NHS partners, is a clinical trial testing a new employment support service.
The trial aims to find out how good this new service is at helping people with a mental or physical health problem find work if they are unemployed, or stay in work if they’re struggling. One of only two such projects in the UK, it offers individual, tailored support, working alongside healthcare professionals to ensure that people find the right jobs for them.
Already, four people have found work through the scheme.
Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, said: “Research has proved that being in good work can support good health.
“That’s why I’m proud that Sheffield City Region is one of the first areas in the UK to be trialling this new dedicated and personalised support, helping people to find work, or to stay in work if they’re struggling.
“It is fantastic news that so many people are already involved with this pioneering Working Win project. I look forward to seeing the scheme help even more people find jobs that are right for them.”
The Working Win 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 receive the new service and the other group will be provided with information about existing services in their area.
The support is free of charge and does not affect any benefits people may be receiving. Those taking part need to be registered with a GP in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw and be either out of work and want to work; or working and want support to continue in their job.
Support is also available to employers who sign up, to give them help in improving health and wellbeing in their workplace.
Niall O’Reilly, Head of Work and Wellbeing at South Yorkshire Housing Association, said: “We’re delighted that that every NHS Trust in the region and 106 GP practices have already signed up to Working Win.
“Nearly 800 people with health conditions have referred themselves to Working Win or been referred by their health professional in the first few weeks, which shows how much need there is for the service in our region.
“We’d encourage anyone who wants support to find good work or feel happier and healthier in their current role, to visit workingwin.com to learn more.”
Professor Des Breen, Medical Director for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System, said: “Alongside education and housing, employment is one of the biggest social factors that affects people’s health. Paid work has also been identified as being of significant value in mental health recovery for individuals.
“That’s why it’s no surprise to me that the programme has had fantastic take-up from GPs and wider health organisations wanting to refer their patients in for employment support.
“Every health professional wants to do the best for their patients, and hopefully the trial will demonstrate that this programme provides many health and wellbeing benefits for the patients who are involved.”
People can refer themselves to the trial, known as Working Win, via a dedicated new website, or can be referred through healthcare professionals.
Members of the public and employers can sign up now online, contact the Health-led Employment Trial team by email on email@example.com or call 0114 2900218 for information.