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Sickness benefit claimants given nurse support

People on sickness benefit will have regular meetings with nurses and therapists to help address their barriers to work, the government has announced. 

Around 3,000 people on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) would face losing their benefits during the two-year pilot scheme. 

The proposed scheme will compare the help given by occupational health nurses, doctors and therapists to support from Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers to see which is best to help people back into work. 

Employment Minister Mark Hoban said: "Many people on sickness benefits want to work, so it's vitally important that we give them the right help to move into a job if they are able. 

“The help we give people at the moment tends to focus on work-related skills, but doesn't necessarily address health problems. But by giving people regular support from doctors, occupational health nurses and therapists we can do more to help people manage or improve their conditions.”

People in the work related activity group for ESA already have 'work-focused interviews' with Jobcentre Plus as a condition of receiving their benefit. 

In the pilot area this would be replaced by meetings with healthcare professionals. The length and frequency of the meetings would be flexible, depending on the individual's needs.