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Health secretary stresses importance of work-health balance

21st February 2008

Health secretary Alan Johnson has called on employers to do more to promote the health and wellbeing of their staff.

Speaking at the British Heart Foundation’s Well at Work conference, he called for a new focus on the work-health balance in the UK.

Mr Johnson illustrated that the government had started the debate on the work-life balance when arriving in office ten years ago with measures to promote flexible working and increase maternity and paternity leave.

However, he suggested that the “next stage was to incorporate work-life balance with work-health balance”.

Mr Johnson urged employers to promote wellbeing in the workplace but also acknowledged that government needed to work with businesses to improve the identification of health risks, especially relating to stress and mental health.

He added that the government needed to do more to help those back into work following time-out as a result of health problems.

The conference also saw Mr Johnson launch Professor Louis Appleby’s report ‘Mental Health and Ill Health in Doctors’, which contains recommendations on how the NHS can support doctors to consider their own mental health.

Also this week, care services minister Ivan Lewis launched a 20 million pound funding boost to improve local palliative care services for children with life-threatening conditions.

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