A number of public bodies – including Highland Council – have pulled together in a bid to save money and awarded contracts worth £1.3million for the provision of occupational health services.
The deal will see staff from NHS Highland and Aberdeen-based Iquaris Ltd provide OH services for the local authority, High Life Highland, the University for the Highlands and Islands, Inverness College, Moray College and Sabhal Mor Ostaig.
It is the first occasion where a joint procurement between the various organisations has been agreed.
A spokeswoman, speaking on behalf of all bodies, said: “The opportunity to be part of this collaborative tender exercise arose following discussions between University of the Highlands and Islands partners and Highland Council.
“After exploring the options, partners agreed to proceed with a joint tender to achieve better value for money.”
Occupational health teams work to keep people well at work – physically and mentally and manage any risks in the workplace that are likely to give rise to work-related ill health.
Research shows that good health is good for business and better workplaces have better financial results.
Every year over 170 million days are lost to sickness absence and the Government estimates it costs the economy £100bn a year.
After six months absence from work, there is only a 50% chance of someone making a successful return.
Approximately 70% of all sickness absence is due to psychological ill health or musculoskeletal disorders.
Teams work with qualified doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and mental health practitioners.
Advice and guidance is also provided for employees to treatment and support so that sick employees can return to work quickly.
They also work with partners so employees have fast access to specialists such as physiotherapists or mental health practitioners.