The Supporting Occupational Health and Wellbeing (SOHWELL) programme was launched by the Committee for Employment and Social Security in response to a rising trend in long-term incapacity benefit claims. The programme recognised that in order to stem the rising trend in long-term incapacity, there was a need to transform the way short-term incapacity claims were managed. Phase one of SOHWELL introduced a biopsychosocial model as its foundation and transformed the way key processes had been managed for many years which resulted in case managers and doctors working in a different way and with a greater focus on occupational health and work rehabilitation.
Phase one of SOHWELL delivered a redesigned medical certificate and work capability assessment and bespoke training for doctors. This training focused upon the concepts of the new medical certificate as well as occupational health, case management and vocational rehabilitation.
The medical certificate and training was well received by doctors, the new work capability assessment has proved effective and employers have found the occupational health-related advice conveyed through the medical certificate helpful in terms of appropriate adjustment.