Working Health Services Scotland: a 4-year evaluation

E. Demou, M. Hanson, Andisheh Bakhshi, M. Kennedy, E.B. MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Working Health Service Scotland (WHSS) supports the self-employed and employees of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland with a health condition affecting their ability to work, who are either absent or at risk of becoming absent due to it.

To evaluate the impact on health and work outcomes of WHSS clients over a 4-year period.

Data were collected at enrolment, entry, discharge and follow-up at 3 and 6 months after discharge. Clients completed up to three validated health questionnaires at entry and discharge—EuroQol five dimensions (EQ-5D) and visual analogue scale (VAS); Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS); and Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM).

A total of 13463 referrals occurred in the 4-year period; 11748 (87%) were eligible and completed entry assessment and 60% of the latter completed discharge paperwork. The majority of referrals were due to musculoskeletal conditions (84%) while 12% were referred with mental health conditions. Almost a fifth (18%) of cases were absent at entry and back at work at discharge. Work days lost while in WHSS was associated with age, length of absence prior to entering WHSS, primary health condition and time in programme. All health measures showed significant improvements from entry to discharge. Improvement in general health was sustained at 3- and 6-month follow-up.

The WHSS evaluation findings indicate that participation was associated with positive changes to health and return-to-work. The extent of the positive change in health measures and work ability can be highly important economically for employees and employers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-45
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Early online date30 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


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