Occupational Health Advisor, Liz Cooper, works for Team Prevent to provide our occupational health service, part of our award-winning Workforce Wellbeing Programme (WWP), to those who working racing. She tells us more about her role, explains what it’s all about and how it can benefit you.
1. What is occupational health and can you tell us more about the process?
Occupational health teams keep people well and at work – physically and mentally, or helps them get back to work after illness. Research shows that the longer people are off sick, the less likely they are to make a successful return to work. After six months absence from work, there is only a 50 per cent chance of someone making a successful return.
Occupational health also helps employers to manage any risks in the workplace that are likely to give rise to work-related ill health. Research shows that good health is good for business and better workplaces have better financial results. Every year over 170 million days are lost to sickness absence. The Government’s Black Review of the health of the working age population reported the cost to the economy is estimated to be £100bn each year.
2. Can you tell us about your role at Team Prevent and how it involves Racing Welfare?
I have been an Occupational Health Advisor at Team Prevent for 3 ½ years and work across a variety of organisations, both public and private, small, medium and multi-national. We currently support over 20 NHS Trusts and hospitals across the country, as well as well-known businesses.
We currently offer clinics at 3 bases for racing industry staff, held at Newmarket twice a week, Malton and Lambourn, both once a week. That said, we are open to anybody in the industry nationwide via telephone or video link. This includes administrative staff, veterinary staff, farriers, drivers and the list goes on.
3. Can you give an example of how it has impacted those who work in racing?
There has been a huge beneficial impact for the whole industry. The service has now been running for 2 years and we have seen a steady increase in uptake. There are numerous cases of people that have been able to return to work after serious injury/chronic problems as a direct result of the OH program. As well as, being able to provide advice to managers to support their employees back into the workplace. There is always the potential to tweak duties for a short time to support someone back to work, despite the environment.
Racing is no different in that respect. The service has improved access to resources such as rehabilitation but also diagnostic investigations and specialist consultations. It has ensured that the right people are being directed to the right places for the right treatment and enables Racing Welfare to support the industry better. It also helps those individuals whose health prevents them from returning to their previous role by managing expectations and referring them on to services such as the Careers Advice and Training Service.
4. What advice would you give to those who are dealing with physical or mental health issues at work?
Talk to your Welfare Officer, ask for a referral to OH, but also talk to your manager as a first line of support. If you need support outside of normal working hours, contact the Racing Welfare helpline on 0800 6300 443.
5. Is the service continuing as normal through the COVID-19 outbreak?
The service is still running, but we are offering remote clinics, rather than face to face. This can be done either via telephone or video. We can also still refer for an osteopath assessment via video consultation if this is required and many of our counsellors are also offering telephone/video consultations. We can still provide advice and support despite the current situation, so come and talk to us.
Get Occupational Support
You can self-refer in the following ways:
- contacting Racing Welfare’s Suport Line on 0800 6300 443
- contacting your local Welfare Officer
- speaking to your employer or GP who can refer you with your consent
When you refer you will be asked some questions, to confirm some basic information in order to verify your identity and take your details. Your consent will also be obtained to take part in the assessment and for your personal information to be processed for that purpose. Any referred treatment will be provided free of charge.
Jo Devereaux, who is Clinical Lead at Racing’s Support Line and a trained counsellor explains below what you can expect when you call us: