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GP practices to provide advice on job seeking in new pilot scheme

Practices are offering careers advice for the long-term unemployed as part of a scheme which aims to overcome health-related barriers to work.

The ‘Working Better’ scheme in Islington, north London, was launched on 1 September and will see practices offering one-on-one employment coaching.

The scheme, run by Islington Council, Jobcentre Plus and NHS Islington CCG, comes in response to the council’s independent employment commission last year, which called for employment support services to be provided in places where hard-to-help people already went – like GP surgeries.

Costing nearly £90,000, the intensive and personalised employment coaching pilot scheme has been taken up by five surgeries so far.

Dr Josephine Sauvage from the NHS Islington CCG explained that the employment drive aims to redress isolation and confidence issues, which are often associated with long-term health problems.

She said: ‘When we become ill we often stop doing those things that get us out and about and bring fulfilment to our lives. As a local GP I see and hear this every day and I’m very keen to do more to support my patients’ well-being.

‘Prescribing free and confidential employment coaching, delivered in a caring and familiar environment, could be really beneficial to a patient’s confidence and self-esteem, as well as their long-term recovery.”

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: ‘Health services are often quite disconnected from employment services and frontline health staff don’t feel comfortable talking about returning to work with their patients. We think there is much more that health services can do to promote the idea of employment for people with health conditions.’


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Readers' comments (11)

  • I hope this is not one of those"GPs are ideally placed .............."again this is getting tiresome.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Again, properly funded and with the right level of expertise , why not?
    And this is also a pilot......(you know what I mean?)

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  • With planes crashing and evening vanishing into thin air, NHS still flying pilots. How dumb you can get.
    Exhilarating to know that some Practices have the time and resources to offer employment coaching instead of treating patients. Maybe we should take over benefits advisory service in the next pilot. GP-all in one- service gradually replaces the whole administrative set up in UK. Carry on NHSE......

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  • 'GPs prescribing ... employment coaching' yet another burden on the GP.
    Oh, I think you need employment coaching, go and see your GP.
    instead of .. you might benefit from employment coaching, anyone can point you in the right direction.

    we had a similar scheme for emotional support for teenagers. had to be via a GP referral to keep the numbers down. Some buffoon of a clinical director in the Ccg thought this was an appropriate use of GPs time

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  • could be interesting ... beats clinical work and low risk.

    add it to terrorism, loneliness, boiler(corgi), dementia lead etc etc

    why don't we just take on all government work as we are ideally placed to do it ...

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  • GPs .jack and jill of all trades...

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  • What is it with people from Islington? Are they kept underground until ready to come out with this BS.

    You wanna job, matey? Round my way they have special buildings for that. Job Centres, they're called. You'll find them between the Food Bank and The Needle Exchange, across the road from the Soup Kitchen. Now, do you mind awfully if I get back to some medicine? I am a bit behind on my dementia reviews - here goes - Stll demented Doris? good, see you next year. NEXT.

    Increasingly my job is like doing lines at school. "Lines" in the 1960's sense, not as in the popular recreational activity in the House of Lords.

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  • Sounds like a fine idea. I'm just not sure where the whole "ten years of medical training" bit comes in.

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  • Is it a good idea - in principle as well as in terms of more pressure on GP's? Getting people "back to work" is currently a pretty toxic policy theme of this government, championed by Ian Duncan Smith and the DWP. Are GP's going to get involved, however indirectly, in the pressure to declare benefit claimants fit for work? How are patients already experiencing the punitive regime of WCA, sanctioning, being berated by the press as 'scroungers' - how might they feel about their GP joining the 'get to work' hoo-ha? As a psychotherapist I'm already really concerned about the psychological coercion built into Jobcentre work programmes. Are we going to see GP practices providing another plank in the government's campaign to demonise (sorry, help) physically and mentally disabled people with the "you should be working/work is good for you" stick?

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  • I'm worried about the thinking behind this scheme. For example, will the government be sanctioning sick and disabled people for non-compliance? And is that the role of a doctor? I'm also very concerned about the potential this pilot has for damaging the trust between doctors and their patients. I do support the idea of social presceribing in theory, but this is not that -

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