National role for occupational therapist looking at keeping people in employment

Anne Bontoft
Anne Bontoft

When struck with illness, injury or disability it’s often the role of the occupational therapist (OT) to help people overcome the effects and live as independently as possible.

Now an OT from North Lincolnshire will be taking this a step further as part of a new nationwide pilot which is looking at how to support people to keep them in employment.

Anne Bontoft, from Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, has been chosen as one of 28 health and work champions in England.

It’s part of a joint project between the College of Occupational Therapists and Public Health England.

Anne will be delivering training to other health professionals encouraging them to ask “the work question” and provide advice when delivering care to working age adults. The aim is to help them understand the link between work and health, that employment is a useful measure of functional health and steps they can take to help people back into employment.

Anne said: “I am honoured to have been chosen to represent the Trust on the national stage and to be part of this exciting pilot project. I’ll be looking at how we, as health professionals, can support people to remain in work following an illness, injury or disability.

“There is strong evidence showing that work is generally good for health and well-being and that being unable to work is linked with poorer health and well-being outcomes. Work also increases income, improves social networks and contributes to health and wellbeing.”

The health and work champion’s pilot project will be evaluated by a team of academics at Salford University and forms part of the suite of measures to improve the disability employment gap in Improving Lives: The Work, Health and Disability Green paper.