Free occupational health services for Scottish practice nurses
Practice nurses in Scotland will now have free access to occupational health services as part of a scheme to support the health of general practice staff
The scheme, backed by £920,000 of funding, means that everyone who works for a GP practice will now be able to access their local health board’s occupational health services free of charge.
Scotland’s occupational health service helps staff with issues like posture, recovering from injuries, back pain, returning to work after illness and workplace assessments.
Through the service employees will have access to a range of specialists including occupational health nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, consultants and specialist registrars.
Health secretary Shona Robison made the commitment to the British Medical Association (BMA) earlier this year, in recognition of the contribution that primary care staff make to the health service.
The funding will be provided on a recurring basis from this year onwards.
Ms Robison said: ‘As well as increasing funding we have to look after GPs and their practice staff, and ensure the basics are right. Occupational health is a key part of that.
‘This additional funding will mean that our GP practice staff will be able to benefit from more effective occupational health. I acknowledge that working in GP surgeries has its challenges and therefore it’s quite right that these valued members of the NHS family are able to take full advantage of these services. It will also help us to create a more sustainable workforce in the long term.’
BMA Scottish GP committee chair Alan McDevitt said: ‘Measures that provide continued support to practices are very welcome and I am delighted that the Scottish government has committed recurring funding to ensure that all our staff will have free access to the occupational health service.’