Developing a 'Working Well' service

Salford Community Health

  • Project led by Salford Community Health and the University of Salford.
  • Focused on staff health and wellbeing across NHS Salford.
  • Aimed to reduce staff sickness absence due to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
  • Developed a worker-centred model of provision for staff health involving clinics and co-ordinated case management to support staff to return to normal participation quickly.

The Working Well project aimed to reduce staff sickness absence due to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as back pain. The project set out to:

  • support staff to return to normal participation quickly and reduce time off sick
  • increase job satisfaction and mental wellbeing
  • reduce sickness absence costs
  • improve staff efficiency and effectiveness, with improved levels of care and patient satisfaction.

The project team worked with stakeholders to implement a worker-centred model of staff health provision and a co-ordinated case management service for staff who might be struggling to stay at work or return to work due to an MSD. Clinics took place at a range of locations and at different times, to accommodate a range of shift patterns. A specialist occupational physiotherapist co-ordinated care and coached other clinical staff to develop their skills and improve future capacity and sustainability.

Who was involved

The project was led by NHS Salford and the University of Salford, with the service available to staff at Salford Community Health and NHS Salford organisations.


  • General sickness absence was reduced from 5.2 days to 2.6 days, while sickness absence due to MSDs was reduced from 3.3 days to 0.7 days.
  • Improvements in staff psychological wellbeing, job satisfaction and identified functional limitations.
  • For individuals who used the service, salary-based costs for MSDs in relation to sickness absence fell by 26%.
  • Managers felt supported and empowered to effectively manage sickness absence cases.


Data collection and analysis became a much bigger task than anticipated, so additional research time had to be added to support this area of work.

Further reading

Learning report

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