On 6 April 2010 a new medical statement was introduced. The statement introduces a new way for GPs to assess their patients. It will assess whether a patient 'may be fit for work', rather than a simple 'fit to work' / 'not fit to work' assessment. The Department for Work and Pensions have produced guidance for all those affected by this change, including employees, employers and GPs.
HSE commissioned the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) to develop a simple tool for employers, especially aimed at SMEs, to collect, record and measure sickness absence data. The IOM completed the project and produced a prototype sickness absence recording tool (SART).
HSE made the evaluation version of the SART prototype freely available to interested stakeholders not involved with the SAM Project. Copies were available on the HSE website with important disclaimer information that users were required to consider before deciding whether to download the tool. SART had proved reliable when used by SMEs, but no user support for the tool was provided by either the IOM or HSE.
The CIPD, having worked with HSE and Acas, launched a free online toolkit to help managers with absence management. It was aimed principally at line managers working in small and medium sized enterprises, but was also of interest to those working in larger organisations. The toolkit provided line managers with information on useful policies and procedures to help them manage sickness absence more effectively.
A Ministerial Taskforce on Health, Safety and Productivity took forward the Government's 2004 Comprehensive Spending Review's intention to better manage sickness absence in the public sector. The Task Force invited HSE, in a project with the Work Foundation, to produce guidelines for the public sector on 'The Well Managed Organisation'. These guidelines promote board level leadership on managing attendance, health and well being in the workplace and provide diagnostic tools for practitioners.