NHS Plus – Health 4 Work Adviceline

Since August 2012 we have delivered the free Health for Work Adviceline which is funded by the Department of Work and Pensions. The service provides small businesses with the expert advice and support they need to help team members experiencing ill health and other occupational health issues.

The Health for Work Adviceline had a requirement to cut costs, develop a sustainable funding model whilst delivering a high quality service to those who often feel unable to obtain professional occupational health advice due to the smaller size of their business.

The pre-Connect Assist pilot Adviceline comprised:

  • A website with content relevant for small business in different industry verticals;
  • A telephone helpline available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, excluding public holidays. This service is provided by NHS Direct;
  • A network of occupational health provider organisations who offer a detailed 30 minute consultation to small business managers, upon referral from the helpline.

The Adviceline took approximately 2,000 telephone calls during its pilot year.

The Health for Work initiative was one of the outcomes from the Health Work and Wellbeing initiative led by Dame Carol Black on behalf of the Government. The pilot phase ended in March 2011 and there was no funding available for the Adviceline to continue in its current form.

Connect Assist have partnered with NHS Plus since November 2011 to create a new approach to delivery of the Health for Work helpline, with a focus on;

  • Delivering services across a number of channels (phone, email, web, mobile, etc.);
  • Creating a more cost effective helpline solution that reduces unit cost, and;
  • Building a sustainable business model for the Health for Work helpline beyond DWP funding.

The service we provide

Connect Assist worked with NHS Plus to help them design a new and innovative approach to delivering advice through digital service delivery solutions.

From our Contact Centre, our call handler’s manage a tiered process and handle enquiries across phone, LiveChat, Ask a Question and email. This tiered solution enables the rapid identification of the caller’s needs which ensures that more serious incidents are escalated to a second tier service provided by occupational health nurses.


The service launched in 2011 and is now delivering a less expensive and more flexible approach through the following services:

  • Telephone advice from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm
  • Specialist advice and information on specific occupational health issues
  • A web-based platform (on browser and mobile) allowing employers to search and download advice for themselves reducing the cost of support for lower level enquiries
  • Interactive online advice direct with the Adviceline advisers that enables users to get support that fits in with their busy working day.
  • Our service is a major component of the overall Adviceline service. By providing a multi-channel service integrated with our Contact Centre, we ensure that callers are triaged effectively but in a way that’s convenient for them and that those who require specialist advice are passed seamlessly to a professional occupational health nurse. This is shown in the diagram on the next page.
  • Part of the evaluation has been to segment the enquirers to a far higher degree than previously by establishing region that enquirer has emanated from, business sector, size and role of individual generating enquiry.


Health4Work Adviceline


The benefits of our service

The new multi-channel, web based and telephone support has enjoyed phenomenal growth and success whilst maintaining high standards of customer service.

Successes and achievements

  • This project was established as a result of the Professor Dame Carol Black review ‘Working for a Healthier Tomorrow’  which found that ill health was costing the country £100bn annually. Consequently this initiative is very carefully evaluated by the Department of work and pensions.
  • To feed into that evaluation we have satisfaction surveys in place which are recording 70% good and excellent satisfaction at Tier 1 where only 50 % of enquirers are in scope with 100% at Tier 2.
  • Additionally we follow up to assess users activity on the advice offered at 4 days weeks and months this is helping drive and recording 75% follow up on advice recommended.
  • By the end of March 2012 we had delivered 37,000 on line user sessions and monthly interactions are growing at 24% per month This is measured using the reporting systems within the CRM system
  • Through the web based services we increased registrations to 3000 registrations by the end of May 2012,this is up from 2000 total during the pilot year. All users are registered traceably within the CRM.
  • The delivery model during the pilot year saw much of the qualified occupational health staff time being spent handling lower level information and often out-of-scope calls. Now of all calls coming into the service Connect Assist handles 40% – 50% at Tier 1 (information, signposting, handling out-of-scope calls) and 100% of calls reaching Tier 2 are now in-scope, higher level occupational health enquiries.

Case Study

Racing Welfare Out of hours at crisis! Connect Assist provide consultancy, then service.


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