The insurance industry is lacking innovative ideas to deal with rehabilitating people off state incapacity benefit, according to a senior Government official.
The Department for Work and Pensions’ chief medical adviser and medical director Dr Mansel Aylward said that the public and private sectors should work more closely together.
In his keynote address – entitled Welfare to work – rehabiliation and public/private partnerships – to the Westminster and City 2002 Protection Insurance Forum, he admitted that the Government had done little to help individuals get back to work.
He said that support services were lacking, inappropriately targeted and too many people were written off to a life on benefits.
Quoting Government research, he said that one in five households of working age had no economically active people.
However, the Government is conducting research on rehabilitation and state incapacity benefits and also looking at those receiving income protection insurance benefits. For more information, see the group income protection survey on page 26 of this month’s issue.
He said that the Government’s strategy was “work for those who can; security for those who can’t” and aims to ensure that:
• people who fall ill or are disabled are helped to remain in work;
• people with prolonged incapacity are supported to return to work;
• integrated health focused and employment services are improved;
• resources are targeted towards those who are most in need.
The Government plans to introduce job retention pilots to test the effectiveness of different health and employment strategies and to provide a full picture of factors influencing job retention rates.
Dr Aylward suggests that communication should improve between employment focused services such as primary or secondary care services and private healthcare providers, and health focused markets such as employers’ occupational health services.