Unemployed sick pilot shows positive results

Those off work because of illness who have encountered JobCentre Plus advisers in GP surgeries are being motivated more to return to employment, the government has claimed.

Results of a pilot released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) today show 91 per cent of those who had access to an adviser “said that it motivated them to think about work and that they felt they had been listened to”.

The pilot was begun in 2006 and saw advisers placed in GP surgeries to provide advice for those on statutory sick pay and long-term incapacity benefit.

It forms part of the government’s wider Pathways to Work programme, which seeks to get more long-term sick and disabled people into work.

The government claims Pathways to Work has already helped 64,000 people find jobs quicker and that every £1 million it has spent on the programme has resulted in a reduced benefits burden of £1.5 million.

“I am impressed by the success of the Pathways programme – it proves that with the right support we can make a difference even with long-term benefit claimants, which is a group of people usually considered harder to help,” employment minister Stephen Timms said.