Sickness absence and return to work
We developed the EASY (Early Access to Support for You) study A novel approach to early sickness absence management: the EASY (early access to support for you) way., an early access support tool that was effective in both reducing sickness absence and also maintaining that reduction The EASY (Early Access to Support for You) sickness absence service: a four-year evaluation of the impact on absenteeism.
We have undertaken studies on the effectiveness of early interventions in return to work, Effectiveness of very early workplace interventions to reduce sickness absence: a systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis., sickness absence duration for common health issues Evaluating sickness absence duration by musculoskeletal and mental health issues. A retrospective cohort study of Scottish Healthcare Workers. and prediction of job loss in those on sickness absence Predicting job loss in those off sick.; Predictors of delayed return to work or job loss with respiratory ill-health: a systematic review.
The ageing worker
Our research includes the SOPIE (Supporting Older People Into Employment) study. Protocol for a mixed-methods longitudinal study to identify factors influencing return to work in the over 50s participating in the UK work programme: supporting older people into employment (SOPIE).
We have also been involved in studying factors associated with accelerated ageing. Accelerated ageing and renal dysfunction links lower socioeconomic status and dietary phosphate intake.
Quality improvement in OH practice
As practising OH physicians, in addition to our academic activities, we undertake a range of clinically focussed research. These include competency assessment for both OH physicians and nurses (see section below), clinical improvement activities relating to the consultation, clinical assessment and report quality and more recently, understanding complexity in OH practice.
Our research includes development of the first ever clinical algorithms in OH practice. Development and implementation of clinical algorithms in occupational health practice. We have also published a series of peer review audit studies of OH report quality. Peer review audit of occupational health reports: process and outcomes. ; Impact of peer review audit on occupational health report quality.; Peer review audit of non-specialist occupational physician reports.
Clinical Competencies in OH
We are global leaders in this research field having published the first studies on European Requirements for occupational medicine training in Europe: a Delphi study and international competency priorities for specialist occupational physicians International perspective on common core competencies for occupational physicians: a modified Delphi study. We have also undertaken innovative research on competency priorities between OH physicians and nurses Comparison of competency priorities between UK occupational physicians and occupational health nurses., core competencies for UK nurses Core competencies for UK occupational health nurses: a Delphi study and OH customers Required competencies of occupational physicians: a Delphi survey of UK customers.. For these studies, we developed a modified Delphi technique, that has been adopted in other research studies
The Value of OH research
We led a review commissioned by the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) and partially funded by the Health & Safety Executive, UK on ‘The Value of OH research’. This was published at a formal launch at The House of Lords in June 2019 by SOM Patron, Lord David Blunkett.
The review has received widespread national and international recognition; being the subject of an Editorial in the journal, Occupational & Environmental Medicine https://oem.bmj.com/content/76/12/873. and featuring in the International Congress on Occupational Health (ICOH) newsletter. It has also been the driver for the development of a designated UK centre for work and health research. Our Group are active members of the UK Centre for Work and Health strategy group, that is currently working to drive this agenda.
See Guest blog by Dr Drushca Lalloo, lead author of The Value of Occupational Health Research report for a summary of the findings and actions recommended https://www.som.org.uk/value-occupational-health-research.
Research priorities and academic activity in OH
We undertook a national study on research priorities for UK OH physicians and researchers Current research priorities for UK occupational physicians and occupational health researchers: a modified Delphi study., and a further study on research and teaching activity among UK OH physicians. Research and teaching activity in UK occupational physicians.
Specific occupational group studies
We have undertaken a range of studies on specific occupational groups including ill-health retirement outcomes in teachers Ill health retirement in Scottish teachers: process, outcomes and re-employment. ; Return to work after ill-health retirement in Scottish NHS staff and teachers.; dental practitioner studies Mercury vapour levels in dental practices in body mercury levels of dentists and controls. ; Health and neuropsychological functioning of dentists exposed to mercury.; Dental practitioners and ill health retirement: a qualitative investigation into the causes and effects. , musculoskeletal injuries among equine vets Occupational risks of working with horses: A questionnaire survey of equine veterinary surgeons., the occupational health of Sherpas Work-health needs of high-altitude mountain guides (Sherpas) in Nepal: a pilot study. , healthcare workers The involvement of occupational health services prior to ill-health retirement in NHS staff in Scotland and predictors of re-employment., doctors’ health Doctor and dentist contacts with an NHS occupational health service.; Trends in NHS doctor and dentist referrals to occupational health.and their working hours European Working Time Directive and doctors' health: a systematic review of the available epidemiological evidence. and more recently, the health of information technology (IT) workers. Health, lifestyle and occupational risks in Information Technology workers.