PATients’ views of Health and WORK advice (PATcHWORK)

PATients’ views of Health and WORK advice (PATcHWORK)

Duration: 01 November 2022 - 30 October 2024
Funder: Medical Research Council and Versus Arthritis
Chief investigator:  Dr Elaine Wainwright
Co-investigators:  Professor Karen Walker-Bone (University of Southampton), Professor Gwen Wynne-Jones (Keele University), Professor Ira Madan (King's College London), Professor Stephen Bevan (Institute of Employment Studies)
Associated research staff: TBC

At present, there are a variety of different models of how health and work advice might be best delivered. In order to help figure out which of these models is best, we need to know what patients would like, and why, before considering what other key stakeholders might think.

In this research, we will seek to interview adults aged 18 years and above, and who are either unemployed and who want to return to work, currently employed but off sick or who are at risk of losing their jobs due to health or attendance issues.

We will seek to get the views of as broad a sample of patients as we can, across different ethnicities, ages, genders, and with different kind of jobs.

What is the background to this research?

This project is being developed in discussion with CMHW members, PPIE members and policy making stakeholders, in response to a previous literature review of current sources of work and health advice and care for UK patients. This review showed the broad variety of support services which currently exist in the UK. In order to assess which of these might be most appropriate or acceptable, it is important to collect and analyse patient preference for the content and format of health and work advice services.

What are the aims of this study?

In this qualitative research, our aim is to develop an in-depth understanding of how we can deliver health and work support for all from the patients’ perspective.

The specific objectives are to answer questions in the following 7 areas:

  • Type of support - what kind of guidance should health and work advisors be able to give?

  • Setting - where do patients think health and work support could be best accessed and why (for example, primary or secondary care services, IAPT services, Jobcentres etc)?

  • Timing - when do patients think health and work support would be helpful and why (for example at what point in a patient journey and how frequently should this occur)?

  • Modality - by which mode of delivery do patients prefer health and work advice and care to happen and why (for example in person, via telephone or video conferencing)? If in person services are preferred, where specifically do patients prefer this support to happen and why (for example at home, work or in a clinical setting)?

  • Who should deliver - who would patients prefer to receiving health and work support from, and why?

  • Links with other services - to what extent do patients think the person offering the advice and care should be linked into other services and settings?

  • Employer acceptance - to what extent do patients think employers would be receptive to information about how to support them and their health?

What will this research involve?

This study will interview approximately 30 adults to find out their views of how, when and by whom, health and work advice and care should be offered in the UK.

Participants we will seek to interview will be:

  • Aged 18 years and over

  • Unemployed and wishing to return to work OR

  • Employed but currently off sick OR

  • At risk of losing their job due to health or attendance issues (either as defined by the patient, their employer or their healthcare professional)

We will study a sample of patients, across different ethnicities, ages, genders, and with different kind of jobs. We will use standard ONS categories for ethnicity and gender, and will categorise age in strata (18-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-65, 66-70, 71 and over) in order to capture people of working age, and different retirement cut-off ages.

For job categories, we will use the Standard Occupational Classification which is a common classification of occupation information in the UK.

Interviews will be conducted individually with participants, and will be audio record, transcribed verbatim, anonymised and then the anonymised data will be subjected to thematic analysis.

What has the study found so far?

The project protocol is currently under development with our PPI partners.

Once further information is available, including any papers from this research, this will be made available here.


If you have any queries about this research, please contact