NHS support for workplace health schemes in five year plan

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The NHS will offer help and support for workplace incentives to promote employee health and cut sickness-related unemployment.

The NHS' Five Year Forward Vision was introduced in a speech by Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, and covers all aspects of the NHS' services and how they should change or be sustained in the next five years.

The plan stated: "during the next Parliament we will seek to test a win-win opportunity of improving access to NHS services for at-risk individuals while saving ‘downstream' costs at the Department for Work and Pensions, if money can be reinvested across programmes.

It continued: "One of the advantages of a tax-funded NHS is that - unlike in a number of continental European countries - employers here do not pay directly for their employees' health care. But British employers do pay national insurance contributions which help fund the NHS, and a healthier workforce will reduce demand and lower long term costs.

"The government has partially implemented the recommendations in the independent review by Dame Carol Black and David Frost, which allow employers to provide financial support for vocational rehabilitation services without employees facing a tax bill. There would be merit in extending incentives for employers in England who provide effective NICE recommended workplace health programmes for employees. We will also establish with NHS Employers new incentives to ensure the NHS as an employer sets a national example in the support it offers its own 1.3 million staff to stay healthy, and serve as "health ambassadors" in their local communities."

Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, said: "Healthcare in this country has improved dramatically over recent years and has weathered recent financial storms with remarkable resilience, thanks to protected funding and the commitment and dedication of NHS staff.

"But the NHS is now at a crossroads - as a country we need to decide which way to go. The Forward View represents the shared view of the national leadership of the NHS, setting out the choices - and consequences - that we will face over the next five years.

"It is perfectly possible to improve and sustain the NHS over the next five years in a way that the public and patients want. But to secure the future that we know is possible, the NHS needs to change substantially, and we need the support of future governments and other partners to do so."

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