17 November 2015

The Welsh Government is to access £3.2 million of EU funding to support a programme that aims to help more than 4000 people by addressing health-related barriers to them remaining in employment.

The programme will operate in Conwy, Denbighshire, Gwynedd, Anglesey, Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea.

It will involve work-focused therapeutic interventions designed to help those on, or at risk of, a long-term sickness absence to remain in work or return to work sooner.

The scheme will support employees in small and medium-sized firms that lack access to occupational health services. People in work who have health conditions, including musculoskeletal problems, mental ill health, or drug and alcohol problems. will be able to access the programme via their GP, their employer or a self-referral.

Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford explained that the scheme will provide rapid access to support, including physiotherapy, psychological therapies and occupational therapy.

SME managers and employees will be invited to a series of workshops to help improve workplace health and wellbeing and reduce sickness absence.

Finance Minister Jane Hutt said: "We are committed to helping people with work-limiting health conditions to remain in work. This scheme will provide additional and tailored support so those people with health conditions can stay in employment and benefit from a more prosperous future."