Date lodged: 29 November 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what work is being done to ensure that working age people with health or disability issues have appropriate early support when they most need it.
Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 30 November 2017
The Scottish Government recognises the importance of early intervention to help people with disabilities and health conditions to stay in or move into work.
A range of health and employment support currently exists for people with disabilities and health conditions who are in work, including Healthy Working Lives and Working Health Services Scotland. These services should be as easy as possible to access for individuals, employers and healthcare professionals.
Today, I am delighted to announce that, in partnership with the UK Government, we will pilot a Single Health and Work Gateway (‘the Single Gateway’) in Fife and Dundee from Summer 2018 until 2020. With a UK Government financial contribution of £2,878,000 and a Scottish Government contribution of £632,000, the pilot will drive forward improvements in the way we deliver early support to people in Scotland who have health conditions or disabilities, to help them sustain or return quickly to work.
The Single Gateway will trial new solutions to provide quicker, more effective access to a range of existing, funded, health and work support services. It will align and enhance a range of core health and work services; act as a single point of contact for employers, healthcare professionals and Jobcentre Plus; and introduce a new, health and work support service for people who are recently unemployed.
Alongside the Single Gateway pilot, we will take forward a research project to improve the way in which we identify and “triage” people who are at risk of falling out of work and into long term unemployment due to ill health or disability.
The Single Gateway is one of a range of actions that we are taking forward to better integrate employability support with other services. We will set out these actions in a plan to be published in early 2018.