Natalie: Are there areas that we should feel optimistic about?
Karen Steadman, Researcher: Oh, yes certainly, lots. I mean this opportunity, these Papers come out once every ten years and they really kind of set the direction of policymaking in this area. This Paper is, it’s interesting because it brings together both the advice of both the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health. Often you see policy in terms of work and health kind of falling between the gap of those departments. It also brings in people from the Department for Business, Public Health, and tries to get a range of stakeholders involved. And what’s perhaps different about this Paper is they’ve actually developed a joint unit in government to look at this together, and that’s who developed the Paper. What’s also, kind of building for that, been really useful is that because it’s not just focussed on Department of Work and Pensions it doesn’t just focus on the welfare system, there’s a lot in the Paper about the role of healthcare professionals and the healthcare system more broadly in supporting people to achieve their life goals, which might include work, and really focus on those broader quality of life outcomes and look at ways we can encourage healthcare professionals to have conversations with patients about work and about their aspirations, try to put in those kind of mechanisms to support that.
Natalie: Okay, facilitate things.
Karen Steadman: Yeah. The other important area in this Paper is that it really talks quite a lot about employers. Obviously employers are the gatekeepers to jobs, you know, every day obviously employers make decisions about who gets jobs, who stays in jobs, who progresses in jobs. So engaging employers in this and making sure they understand the challenges that some members of their workforce face and that they understand the things that they can do to help people to remain in work. I mean this is really important and this is a feature, quite a large feature of this Paper. So I think there are some reasons to be positive about the breadth of the conversation.
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