Occupational Health

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 15th March 2019.

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Photo of Ben Bradley Ben Bradley Conservative, Mansfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the current shortfall in the number of occupational health professionals.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

We have not made an assessment which would specifically address this question. However, we know that the number of specialist occupational health physicians has steadily declined over the past two decades.

A report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health highlighted the need to address occupational medicine workforce capacity. A 2016 report from the Council for Work and Health also highlighted similar findings.

The Government is working with its Occupational Health Expert Group to shape measures to improve access to high quality occupational health. This includes looking at the occupational health workforce to ensure sufficient expert capacity is available in the future. Health Education England, through its National School of Occupational Health, has also been involved in this work.

We will set out our proposals in a consultation exercise in 2019.

We have also commissioned research to better understand the current market supply and delivery structures of OH provision and its operation. Findings are due to be published in 2019.

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