February/March 2020 (vol. 16/5)

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Managing long-term sickness absence, part 3

Part 3: manager training


In the final article in this three-part series, occupational physician Paul Nicholson discusses absence management training for managers and supervisors, and examines the available evidence.

In 2018, this journal defined the biopsychosocial factors involved in triggering, prolonging and managing long-term sickness absence (LTSA) as identified in a survey of 295 occupational health (OH) professionals working for in-house services or for third-party providers. In response, the first in this current short series of articles discussed the challenges and opportunities identified by the survey while the second looked at the wider evidence for barriers and facilitators. This article uses the evidence from those articles to discuss potential topics to address in absence management training for managers and supervisors.


Dr Paul Nicholson is an occupational physician, past president of the Society of Occupational Medicine and past chair of the BMA Occupational Medicine Committee. He was the Faculty of Occupational Medicine’s clinical lead responsible for developing the SEQOHS standards and accreditation scheme. His career was spent as an RAF medical officer, occupational physician with ICI Chemicals & Polymers and P&G in the UK and internationally.


Author: Nicholson P


Occupational Health at Work February/March 2020 (vol. 16/5) pp21-25

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