Fully Qualified Occupational Therapist
Following qualification as an State Registered Occupational Therapist (SROT) with BSc (Hons) from Oxford Brookes University in 1993, and registering with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) Alison worked within several healthcare fields (Medical, Surgical and Orthopaedics, Neurology, Neurosurgery and Neuro-rehabilitation) and also developed a specialinterest in Pain Management, with a focus on the treatment of Back Pain in 1995, whilst employed by St Georges NHS Trust at the Wolfson Rehabilitation Centre in South West London. She also developed her skills in Cognitive Assessment and client centered treatment approaches including assessing the individual in a holistic way and worked closely with other health professionals such as Physiotherapy, Psychology, Social workers and Medical staff during her time working in the Rehabilitation Centre. She became increasingly involved in the treatment of work related illnesses and assessing the impact of other medical conditions due to accidents and/or other illnesses, both physical and psychological/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 whilst working for Westminster Healthcare (now Priory Healthcare) in Leicestershire. Her main focus was to help people get 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 in those the car manufacturing industry, the telecommunications industry and also leading national banks & building societies. It was and is crucial for the employer and the employee to be supported by a healthcare professional in these circumstances.
After this Alison was employed by Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust (now Imperial College NHS Trust) in London as a Back Care and Manual Handling Advisor, assessing the musculo-skeletal health of all employees in the trust; from the nursing and other medical staff through to the desk-based staff working on computers all day. All staff required education and training to look after themselves and assess the risks and ergonomics of their working environment, with advice to find practical day to day solutions.
Today more employers recognise the value of looking after their employee’s health at work. As a fully qualified Occupational Therapist, Alison set up Healthywork Ltd in 2001, to deliver Occupational health work related assessment services to employer’s directly via CEO/Directors or their internal HR/OH Departments or to independent Occupational Health companies, HR companies, Insurance companies, Case Management companies and Medico-legal organisations.
Alison and her colleagues provide a full range of Occupational Health based assessments, from Physical assessments, such as Ergonomic Workstation (or factory) Assessments and Functional Capacity Evaluations, through to Cognitive and Psychological Assessments, such as using a variety of standardised Cognitive testing tools and performing assessments of Mental Health needs in relation to work place adjustments and easing return to work. Hearing and vision assessments are also available, along with technical assessments for specialist IT equipment needs.
Many of the assessments performed have required 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. 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), being Chair of their National Executive Committee (May 2017 – Nov 2019) having previously held 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), a member 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.
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. In the past, she has attended networks such as NEHIN (National Employment and Health Innovations Network) which helps to inform government of progress in this field and contributes to strategic development consultations within the field of vocational rehabilitation/functional assessments to help individuals to return to employment. These seminars then, in turn, update the practitioner on physical and mental health Government policy development. She has also contributed to the Council for Work and Health meetings/consultations in her role as Chair of RCOT SS Work.
Post graduate training is ongoing and Alison has attended Matheson Functional Capacity Training in 2003, Job Demands Analysis and Work Hardening training in 2004 and Ergonomic training programmes including the Matheson Ergonomics Course in 2011 as well as other training in Cognitive Assessment and treatment during 2014, Cancer and workplace adjustments, and Mental Health/Mental Fitness practice updates and Pain Management training updates in 2015 and 2016. In 2019, the topic of sleep disorders/shifts patterns and its impact on work and the impact of trauma. Alison regularly attends webinar bite size training, covering topis such as Autism and 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.
Alison has spoken at Back pain prevention conferences for the British Dental Association, lectured on Vocational Rehabilitation at the National Back Exchange Annual Conference and to other groups of health professionals, including presentations on Functional Capacity Evaluation for the Physiotherapy specialists at ACPOHE and other health professional companies and networks.
Our Associate Practioners
Healthywork Ltd has a number of associates who are all highly qualified in this field and have their own areas of expertise. These professionals can conduct assessments, treatment and training as required and allow us to offer a country-wide service.