Facilitating the return to work of NHS staff with common mental health disorders: a feasibility study

Parsons V, Juszczyk D, Gilworth G, Ntani G, McCrone P, Hatch S, Shannon R, Henderson M, Coggon D, Molokhia M, Smedley J, Griffiths A, Walker-Bone K, Madan I
Record ID 32016001018
Authors' objectives: Background Workers in the NHS are more likely to develop mild to moderate anxiety and depression (known as common mental health disorders or CMHD) than the general working population. Absenteeism is costly to the NHS, and for the individual. It is associated with poor health-related quality of life, reduced probability of eventual return to work (RTW) & social isolation. The value of early; pro-active rehabilitation of NHS staff on sick leave with CMHD is recognised, but there have not been any controlled trials in the UK to test suitable interventions to assist workers sick-listed with CMHD return to work. We know from previous studies that clinical assessment and treatment of sick-listed workers alone does not result in early RTW. This is best achieved by combining clinical treatment of the workers with adjustments being made to the workplace to facilitate their return. A recent study suggests that a healthcare-trained case-manager is ideally placed to assess sick-listed workers and to liaise with the managers to assess which workplace adjustments can be accommodated to enable the worker to RTW. Aims 1) To develop an intervention which we think will aid NHS staff who go on sick leave with CMHD to return to work. 2) To assess the effectiveness of an educational program to train occupational health (OH) nurses in case-management 3) To assess if the proposed intervention is acceptable to sick-listed staff, NHS managers and the nurses who deliver the intervention. In addition, we will assess if it is feasible to deliver the intervention in an NHS setting. 4) To assess if it would be possible to run a randomised controlled trial to formally test the intervention. 5) To produce a detailed description of the intervention & of the training program for OH nurses. Design and methods We will search the scientific literature for evidence of what individual interventions have improved RTW in workers sick-listed with CMHD. Together with workers who have had episodes of sick leave due to CMHD, NHS OH departments and NHS human resources/manager representatives will use this evidence to design an intervention that is likely to be effective and feasible to use in the NHS. The intervention is likely to combine clinical treatment, goal setting, workplace adjustments and a step-wise written RTW plan. We will train OH nurses to be the case managers, they will deliver the intervention in four NHS Trusts across the UK. We will include acute & non-acute Trusts and invite workers who are newly sick-listed with CMHD to take part. We will collect data on 84 workers (28 who will receive the intervention & 56 who will not) over a 12-month period. From these data we will assess if it would be feasible to evaluate the intervention in the NHS by a randomised controlled trial. We want to make sure that the intervention, including the training of case managers is acceptable to staff who are on sick leave with CMHD, NHS managers, and the OH nurses who will deliver the intervention. To this end, we will interview these groups of staff on their experiences of and opinions on the intervention. We will estimate the cost of the intervention. We will produce a report recommending whether it would be feasible to run a randomised control to test the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the intervention. We will also produce details of the intervention, together with the necessary questionnaires, data collection tools and training manuals for a future trial.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2021
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England, United Kingdom
MeSH Terms
  • Health Personnel
  • Mental Disorders
  • Mental Health
  • Return to Work
  • Sick Leave
Organisation Name: NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health and Care Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
Contact Name: journals.library@nihr.ac.uk
Contact Email: journals.library@nihr.ac.uk
Copyright: Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.