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Health benefits of work for medical practitioners

There is compelling evidence that, in general, work is good for health and wellbeing. Conversely, the evidence also says long-term work absence, work disability and unemployment can have a negative impact on health and wellbeing.

Practically applying an understanding of the health benefits of safe work can further support an employee with a workplace injury or disease to stay at or return to work as soon as it is safe to do so. The evidence also supports the value of returning to or staying at work as part of an employee’s rehabilitation and not just as the end point of rehabilitation.

Your role as a medical practitioner

As a medical practitioner, you play an important role in the management of your patient’s recovery and are best placed to help them to understand the benefits of good work and the role it plays in their recovery.

You can help your patient to recover by:

  • Assessing and certifying their capacity for work
  • Monitoring and reviewing return to work progress and outcomes
  • Providing evidence based medical treatment
  • Talking to them about the role work plays in their recovery
  • Talking to the employer about how to modify the workplace and work duties to support return to work outcomes
  • Requesting and/or participating in return to work case conferences
  • Identifying possible sources of support, including family members, co-workers and relevant government services.

More information on your role as a medical practitioner in helping your patient to realise the health benefits of good work is available from the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).

Page last updated: 31 Oct 2016