Alison Biggs, Qualified Occupational Therapist
Alison Biggs, a qualified Occupational Therapist completed a degree in Occupational Therapy (BSc Hons) from Oxford Brookes University in 1993. Once registered with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) she worked within several healthcare fields (Medical, Surgical, Orthopaedics, Neurology, Neurosurgery and Neuro-rehabilitation).
Alison focussed on back pain management in 1995 at the Wolfson Rehab Centre, St Georges NHS Trust in London. Alongside this she developed her skills in Cognitive Assessment and client centered holistic approaches. She worked closely with other health professionals such as Physiotherapy, Psychology, Social Workers and Medical staff. She became increasingly involved in the impact of physical and mental health conditions on the working lives of individuals and their return to work plans.
In 1998 Alison was involved in a government funded New Deal for Disabled People project at Westminster Healthcare (now Priory Healthcare) in Leicestershire, to get people back to work who had been off sick or unemployed, due to a health condition. This was a most rewarding project and due to government interest, had a high profile within the healthcare industry.
She helped employees in a variety of industries return to work, including car manufacturing, the telecommunications industry and leading national banks & building societies. It is crucial for the employer and employee to have support from a healthcare professional.
Alison was then employed by Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust (now Imperial College NHS Trust) in London as a Back Care & Manual Handling Advisor. She was assessing the musculo-skeletal health of employees in the trust. Nursing, medical and also desk-based staff working on computers all day. They required training to assess the risks of their tasks and working environment to find practical day to day solutions.
Today more employers recognise the value of looking after their employee’s health at work. As a qualified Occupational Therapist, Alison set up Healthywork Ltd in 2001. This was to deliver Occupational Health services to CEO/Directors and internal Human Resources or Occupational Health Departments. Also via independent Occupational Health organisations, Human Resources consultancies, Insurance, Case Management companies and Medico-legal organisations.
Healthywork provide a range of Occupational Health assessments. Ergonomic Workstation Assessments, Functional Capacity Evaluations, Cognitive and Mental Health Assessments, using a variety of standardised testing tools. Advising on work place reasonable adjustments to ease working and return to work. Hearing and vision assessments are also available, along with technical assessments for specialist IT equipment needs.
Many of the assessments performed require a mix of the above, such as individuals having physical and mental health needs which need to be reviewed together, therefore the assessments aim to review the whole individual to ensure all advice required is provided, to help in the process of them being productive at work.
Alison keeps up to date in this expanding field taking an active role in several organisations. As a qualified Occupational Therapist, she is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT) part of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) and is an associate member of The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF). She is also an active member of RCOT Specialist Section – Work (RCOT SS-Work), recently being Chair of their National Executive Committee (May 2017 – Nov 2019) after other roles on the committee over the last 10-15 years.
Alison is also a member of RCOT Specialist Section – Independent Practice (RCOT SS-IP), and of the Vocational Rehabilitation Association UK (VRA). and of the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) and was a speaker at their annual Occupational Health Conference in June 2017 and June 2019 on the role of Occupational Therapists in Occupational Health.
Alison is also a volunteer verifier for the London Healthy Workplaces Award Scheme run by the Greater London Authority, City Hall, so is part of the network of experts who qualitatively assess employers against the nine standards of the award.
Alison regularly attends events such the Health and Wellbeing @ Work Conference and Exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham held every March, the OccupationalTherapy Show and the NAIDEX Exhibition. She has attended networks such as NEHIN (National Employment and Health Innovations Network) and been involved with government policy development via the Council for Work and Health as Chair of RCOT SS Work.
Post graduate training is ongoing and Alison has attended Matheson Functional Capacity Training in 2003 and Job Demands Analysis & Work Hardening training in 2004. Ergonomic Assessment training in 2011 and specialist training in Cognitive Assessment and treatment during 2014. Cancer & workplace adjustments, Mental Health/Mental Fitness practice updates and Pain Management training updates were conducted in 2015 & 2016.
In 2019, she attended a conference on sleep disorders, shifts patterns and its impact on work. Also an event on the impact of trauma. Alison regularly attends webinar bite size training, covering topis such as Autism & neurodiversity in the workplace, brain injury and most recently the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the physical and mental health of individuals.
Alison has provided assessments for the Governments ‘Access to Work‘ scheme over the years, in order that individuals can be assisted in order that they can remain in work.
She has has spoken at back pain prevention conferences for the British Dental Association. Lectured on Vocational Rehabilitation at the National Back Exchange Conference and OT Show. She has presented on Functional Capacity Evaluation and Ergonomics for health professionals.
Our Associate Practioners
Healthywork Ltd has a number of associates, highly qualified in this field with their own areas of expertise. These professionals can conduct assessments, treatment and training as required thus allowing us to offer a country-wide service.
The strongest survive and go on to beat the competition.
A fit and healthy employee working at optimum efficiency is worth his/her weight in gold. That’s where Healthywork comes in.
Healthywork can help businesses realise their employee’s hidden potential by advising them on implementing healthier, more effective work practices.
Our Governing Ethos
Healthywork is a company with a strong ethos. Summarised in the statement: “The prevention of ill health is preferred to injury and treatment.”
Delivering a medical approach based on sound experience and knowledge of the treatment of various conditions.
We are members of the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC). Keeping up-to-date with research and best practice in our field.
We believe in working together with our clients to attain a satisfactory outcome. Our approach combines the needs of business and economic realities with the desire to achieve well-being in the workplace.
What are the Benefits?
Your business is your people – without them there wouldn’t be a business.
That may seem an obvious fact but it is often overlooked.
Companies may think nothing of spending millions on machines and technology to improve efficiency but don’t always consider the all important human factor.
If their employee’s are happy, healthy and productive they can achieve outstanding results.
Sometimes it takes just a few minor alterations in an employee’s working environment. Perhaps changing the angle at which they work or moving their equipment. Making them feel more comfortable, can have a big impact on their output.
The services offered by Healthywork result in both business and H & S benefits to employers, employees and other stakeholders in the workplace environment.
By using preventative measures and a well-managed approach to ill health at work, significant reductions on Insurance premiums can be made.
The HSE in 2018-2019 indicate that employee workplace injury and illness cost British employers an estimated 15 billion during 2017-2018.
Occupational Therapy involves Occupational Therapists working with people who have a range of physical, mental or social difficulties, the causes of which can vary. There can be difficulties beginning at birth or as the result of an accident, illness or ageing.
Occupational Therapists look at the individual as a whole and enable them to maximise their physical, emotional, cognitive, social and functional potential, through purposeful occupation, as part of a rehabilitation process. Occupational Therapists encourage individuals to do activities independently to the best of their ability.
The result of intervention enables people to make choices and achieve a personally acceptable lifestyle. This can be either the preparation for or return to work, or the development of the quality use of time through leisure, education, training or voluntary work, with the goal of maximizing health and function.
Occupational Therapists utilize a wide variety of strategies and techniques to assist people to achieve their goals and to promote recovery and independence, often finding solutions which are easy to implement and not identified by others in the treating team. Their perspective of performance and activity makes the Occupational Therapists approach different that of both a Nurse and Physiotherapist.
Occupational Therapists, knowledge, skills and attitude:
- Understand Health and ill health. Physical and mental health.
- Trained in activity/task analysis, such as grading the activity for the individual.
- Experienced in problem solving difficult situations and health needs.
- Able to assess the person, job and the environment.
- Skilled at focusing on function and reducing impact of illness or injury.
- Trained in assessment, observation and treatment techniques.
- Good communicators and co-ordinators.
- Able to understand the rehabilitation process and skilled team players.
- Understand Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approaches to rehabilitation and condition management principles.
- Understand the roles of other health professionals and individual rehabilitation requirements
- Outcome orientated.
- Cost-benefit analysis aware.
- Mediation for the worker and employee. Collaberation is positive respect, believing that the client and the employer both hold expert knowledge regarding the situation.
- Assertive and able to face and resolve conflict situations.
- Understand the Equality Act 2010 and other legislation relevant to the individual.
- Use specific assessment tools to make the information gained more objective than subjective.
- Professional, discerning and optimistic.
- Understand that work is good for you and long term unemployment leads to poor health.