In the Budget statement on the 15th March, Hunt said: “We also want help for those who are forced to leave work due to health conditions such as back pain or a mental health issue. We should give them support before they end up leaving their job.”
Hunt introduced a £400m investment to increase the availability of mental health and musculoskeletal resources, and expand the placement and support scheme for individuals.
Plans include embedding tailored employment support within mental health and musculoskeletal services in England, including expanding the individual placement and support (IPS) scheme, and scaling up musculoskeletal hubs in the community.
In addition, the government will ensure digital resources such as apps for management of mental health and musculoskeletal conditions are readily available, so that more people can easily and quickly access the support that is right for them.
It will also pilot a new programme, WorkWell, to better integrate employment and health support for those with health conditions, supporting individuals into employment and to remain in work.
Hunt added that occupational health supports provided by employers were of the utmost importance, and the government would therefore bring forward two new consultations on how to improve its availability, as well as doubling the funding for the small companies subsidy pilot.
Responding to this announcement, Simon Blake, Chief Executive at MHFA England, said: "We are pleased to see the Chancellor has paid attention to the importance of mental health and suicide prevention in today's Budget. Once again, this shows that now, more than ever, workplaces need a comprehensive strategy in place to address mental health and suicide prevention."