HRH launches new service to keep people at work in Lothian

The service, Working Health Services Lothian, will be available to people who work in small and medium sized businesses across Lothian, offering free and confidential access to specialist healthcare services to enable them to stay at or return to work.

The service welcomed HRH, as Patron of the College of Occupational Therapists, who was given a tour of the facilities, met staff and heard at first-hand patients’ experiences of their treatment at the service.

Charles Winstanley, Chair, NHS Lothian said:


“It was a great honour to have HRH officially open this new service, which marks our commitment to the development of rehabilitation services as an important part of our modern healthcare service.




“We look forward to working in partnership with the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives to offer this service to people who have concerns about returning to work because of health issues.”


Gerry McFeely, Project Lead, Working Health Services Lothian, said:
“It’s not easy to return to the workplace after an illness or accident, so it is vital that people get the assistance they need as early as possible to allow them to remain at and/or return to work.
“Working Health Services Lothian aims to provide early occupational rehabilitation and work with both employees and employers to get more people back to work.”
Kathleen Houston, Rehabilitation Development Manager at the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives, said:
“This new service will offer a vital support network for employers and staff in Edinburgh and the Lothians. It will help keep people in employment and also assist those who have been off work for some time by providing them with advice, support and treatment best suited to their needs.”
Johnny Brannan, 56, underwent surgery for a heart condition at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in August. Now six months on he has returned to work in a manual labour position thanks to the rehabilitation treatment he received through the service.
He said:
“I know from my experience that having a major operation can be scary and change your life. But it’s really important that people speak to their doctor about services like this.
“The rehabilitation service showed me the best way to do work related tasks, allowing my recovery to come on leaps and bounds. The team take a real interest in each person’s story and know how to encourage you to keep going.
“I am delighted that I am now able to return to work, with colleagues that care about my recovery and for employers that are so willing to accommodate my health needs. It really is a fantastic feeling.”
Working Health Services Lothian aims to identify and assess patients in employment who are at risk of being unable to work due to new or worsening of existing illness or disability. The service will then offer patients direct access to specialist rehabilitation services in order to support them back into the workplace.
The service is a one year pilot project funded by the Scottish Government and provided by a skilled multi disciplinary vocational rehabilitation team at Astley Ainslie Hospital as part of routine healthcare services in Lothian.