The nature of major causes of work-related ill health makes occupational health fit more closely than ever before into the public health agenda. The government has been quick to recognize the role of occupational health nurses in reaching the public health targets set in recent public health policy such as Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation (1999). Securing Health Together (HSC 2000) is one of the latest government strategies to reduce ill health caused by work and aims to meet the government's agenda to reduce health inequalities within the workplace. This long term occupational health strategy is one of several public health targets within the United Kingdom that has roots within Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation (1999). The appropriateness of the current policy environment and the associated initiatives such as Securing Health Together will now be discussed in order to identify how they evolved and whether the strategies currently in place are in fact conducive to achieving the selected health targets.
[...] Interventions carried out within the working environment may affect any health differences between social classes by diminishing exposure to the determinants of health problems in the lower socio-economic groups (Hogstedt & Lundberg (2002). The contribution of Occupational Health Nurses was underlined in Making a Difference (DOH 1998) in that the workplace has enormous potential as a setting for improving the health of the adult population (DOH 2003). Firstly there is the access to large numbers of people who are at risk from adverse health effects. [...]
[...] Department of health (1998) Making a Difference: strengthening the nursing midwifery and health visiting contribution to health and healthcare, London: The Stationary Office. Department of Health (1999) Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation, London: HMSO. Department of Health (2003) Taking a Public Health Approach in the Workplace. A Guide for Occupational Health Nurses; London: DOH. Downie rs, Tannahill Tannahill A (1996) Health Promotion: Models and Values, 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ewles L. & I. Simnett (1992) Promoting Health: A practical guide to Health Education, London, Scutari Press. [...]
[...] Whilst it is good that the government appears to recognize the importance of occupational health with regards to the focus on primary healthcare, the recent documents and strategies however, “offer few realistic measures on how it can contribute to the nation's health” (McFall 1999). The strategies are non-prescriptive in that they provide targets to inspire action but not ideas as to how the subject areas can be tackled. The occupational health nurse must therefore set their own program of health promotion within the workplace with an approach that is relevant to their working environment. [...]
[...] The government is aware of the continued inequalities in health and has therefore developed public health policies including the Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation initiative that has the two key aims of increasing life expectancy by reducing ill health and tackling the inequalities in health (Health and Safety Executive 1998). The government in introducing such policies has recognized that health promotion is a multi-professional activity that takes place in a variety of settings such as work places, schools and communities. [...]
[...] Health and Safety Executive (1998) The Changing Nature of Occupational health, Norwich: HMSO Health and safety Executive (2003) Occupational Health Statistics Bulletin 2002/03, http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/swi8p10.pdf. Hogstedt. C and I. Lundberg (2002) Work-related policies and interventions in Johan Mackenbach & Martijntje Bakker (eds) Reducing Inequalites in Health: A European Perspective; London:Routledge, p85-103 Kendall, S. and S. Latters (1997) Health and Lifestyles: The Nurses Contribution, London: RCN, pp 74-80. Kloss, D. (1998) Occupational Health Law (3rd Edition), Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd. MacDonald, T.H. [...]
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