By Alex Evans, Editorial Director, National Business Awards

Increasing numbers of small business employers are turning to their free Health for Work Adviceline - introduced to help tackle the impact of sickness absence in the workplace which costs the UK around £100 billion each year.

“The Adviceline is aimed at small businesses which often lack the resources that larger organisations have at their disposal, but for whom the effect of just one employee being absent can be huge in terms of productivity, recruitment costs and staff morale,” explains Jeremy Greaves, Marketing Manager for the Health for Work Adviceline.

Small business employers and managers are put in direct contact with occupational health professionals by calling 0800 0 77 88 44 for advice about how to help an employee with a physical or mental health problem, so minimising the impact on the business.”

A survey of over 1,000 small businesses that have used the service found that 97% of employers found the service useful, with one London-based owner saying: “I was able to speak to an advisor immediately. They were very knowledgeable and understood how to relate that knowledge to our company which is a small charity. Having the summary report sent almost immediately was very helpful too.”

Dame Carol Black, whose report into working-age health identified a need to support small businesses and led to the introduction of the Adviceline, said: "I'm delighted that we now have a national occupational health advice service available to all small businesses in the country. More and more employers are taking advantage of the opportunity to speak to a NHS nurse about health issues affecting their staff. These managers understand the business benefits of addressing employee health problems when they arise, and recognise that the Health for Work Adviceline will provide the professional, confidential information they need.”

The Health for Work Adviceline can be contacted on 0800 0 77 88 44 or visited at www.health4work.nhs.uk Employers and managers can receive help with occupational health monitoring, screening and surveillance, as well as lifestyle and well-being issues, absence management and rehabilitation advice, and will be referred to further support if appropriate.

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