Qualified Occupational Therapist – Alison Biggs
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.