Work and Health - elearning for healthcare
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This programme is in partnership with...
  • Public Health England - Partnership Logo
  • Department-of-Health-Social-Care

About the Work and Health programme

Welcome to this elearning course about the crucial relationship between work and health. This is intended to improve healthcare practitioners’ confidence to support patients with long term or chronic health conditions, via brief conversations in routine consultations.

The course does not cover work-based health initiatives, but instead focuses on the relationship between healthcare professionals and patients. Research shows that multidisciplinary teams are highly effective in helping people with long term conditions return to or stay in work. Specialists, GPs, nurses, occupational health experts and other rehabilitation physicians all have their part to play, which is why this course is pitched at a general level of knowledge and practice.

The introductory session covers the key concepts about the links between work and health, and presents the evidence that an early intervention and a brief conversation about work can provide a fast and effective functional assessment of your patient and their health. It suggests methods to handle those consultations and gives a brief introduction to Motivational Interviewing.

The Self Care for Health Professionals session asks you to take time to consider yourself and your own needs when it comes to remaining healthy at work. It has some practical advice for busy professionals – who often spend so much time thinking about the needs of others that they can risk neglecting their own.

The supplementary sessions give more context, and ways to signpost patients to further support.

To complete the programme, you have the option to do the whole course, or simply complete the Introduction and Self-care for Health Professionals sessions plus one other session of your choice from the supplementary sessions. A certificate will be generated on completion of the Core Sessions module plus a certificate is available on completion of each supplementary session. Each session lasts approximately 30-40 mins. We encourage you to take the whole course if this area is new to you.

More information

Learning objectives

Having completed the introductory and Self Care sessions you should be able to:

  • Explain the wider importance of work to patient health and future well-being
  • Assess a patient’s fitness for work and issue a fit note
  • State the effects on health of long-term sickness absence
  • Recognise the key importance of healthcare professionals in intervention, especially in early intervention
  • Make work-related advice a consideration within clinical consultations
  • Demonstrate knowledge of motivational interviewing techniques
  • Understand and manage the impact of work on your own health and well-being
  • Signpost patients to further resources and sources of support.

Giving a patient confidence in this way can be a huge aid to their recovery or rehabilitation.

The subsidiary sessions concentrate on building knowledge around work as it affects people at different stages of the life course and explore the reasons some people may have difficulties finding or remaining in work. Two disease-specific sessions focus on musculoskeletal conditions (MSK) and mental health, as these two conditions are responsible for the majority of cases of health-related absence in the UK workplace.

Meet the team

  • Gaynor Aaltonen

    Gaynor Aaltonen

    Scientific Writer, Public Health England
  • Bernie Hannigan

    Bernie Hannigan

    Deputy Director, Programmes and Priorities, Public Health England
  • Irene Gonsalvez

    Irene Gonsalvez

    National Lead, Health and Work Public Health England
  • Manuel Ramos

    Manuel Ramos

    Programme Manager, Health and Work, Public Health England
  • Nicola Wong

    Nicola Wong

    Senior Health and Work Officer, Public Health England
  • Tracy Watkins

    Tracy Watkins

    Lead Learning Designer, HEE elearning for healthcare
  • Simon Blackmore

    Simon Blackmore

    Learning Designer, HEE elearning for healthcare
  • Wendy Lowe

    Wendy Lowe

    Learning Designer, HEE elearning for healthcare

Clinical input

  • Dr Rob Hampton, MB ChB, MRCGP, DRCOG, DipOccMed
  • Dr Jackson George Brown, BM MSc DOccMed
  • Dr Andrew Boyd, MRCGP and GP partner
  • Dr Sally Coomber, Deputy Director Occupational Health and Staff Wellbeing, Public Health England
  • Dr Justin Varney, National Strategic Advisor on Health and Work, Public Health England

Peer review

  • Deborah Edwards, Chair, Vocational Rehabilitation Association


With thanks to:

  • Professor Anthony Wolff
  • Alan Walker, Professor of Gerontology, Sheffield University
  • Dr Gavin Clunie, Rheumatologist and Metabolic Bone Physician, Addenbrooke’s Hospital
  • Serena Bradshaw, managing director, Goddards
  • Dr Aashish Tagore
  • Ellen Lithgow


  • Lina Tolkeite
  • Jude Stansfield
  • Charlene Mulhearn
  • Rachel White
  • Michael Brannan
  • Ginder Narle
  • Neil Wood
  • Magdalene Mbanefo-Obi from Public Health England

How to access

In order to access the Work and Health programme, you will need an elfh account. If you do not have one, then you can register by selecting the Register button below.

Register >

To view the Work and Health programme, select the View button below. If you already have an account with elfh, you will also be able to login and enrol on the programme from the View button.

View >

NHS healthcare staff in England

The Work and Health programme is also available to NHS healthcare staff via the Electronic Staff Record (ESR). Accessing this elearning via ESR means that your completions will transfer with you throughout your NHS career.

Further details are available here.

Not an NHS organisation?

If you are not an NHS health or care organisation and therefore do not qualify for free access elfh Hub, you may be able to access the service by creating an OpenAthens account.

To check whether or not you qualify for free access via OpenAthens, you can view the eligibility criteria and register on the ‘OpenAthens’ portal.

Registering large numbers of users

If you are a HR, IT or Practice Manager and would like to register and enrol large numbers of staff within your organisation for access onto the Work and Health programme, please contact elfh directly.

Organisations wishing to use their own LMS

For HR departments wanting to know more about gaining access to courses using an existing Learning Management System please contact elfh directly to express interest.

More information

Please select the following link for more information on how to use the elfh Hub.

elfh is a NHS England programme in partnership with the NHS and professional bodies