The council’s occupational health service is provided by Portsmouth Hospital Trust and is based at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Occupational health is here to help you stay healthy at work – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The service can offer a huge range of assistance, whether it is ensuring that you are able to maintain a healthy posture at work, or helping you return to work after a period of absence. 

Accessing the service

To refer a member of staff to the team, you can either:

The person you contact will ask for some initial details and ask you to complete and submit a referral form, which can be accessed below, along with supporting documents such as a job description or job evaluation questionnaire.

There is also a wealth of information about living and working well at Workplace Wellbeing – to access the resources enter the username ‘PCCuser’.

All referrals are first "triaged" by OH nurse and sorted into four catagories for appointments


•             Simple Return To Work e.g. after short episode of illness

•             Simple sickness absence case e.g. just breaching Trust trigger for referral to OH

•             Simple long term sickness absence


•             Return to work after episode of more complex physical ill health or simple mental health problem such as stress or depression

•             New employee identified as needs to be seen after Work Health Assessment

•             Recurrent short term sickness absence with high Bradford Index


•             Cases not meeting specific Category 4 requirement (see below)

•             More complex mental health cases e.g.: bipolar illness or severe depression

•             Case where some concern about possible alcohol or substance misuse

•             Complex Work Health Assessment case

•             Straightforward disciplinary or grievance case in progress

•             Fitness to attend disciplinary hearings


•             Ill Health Retirement

•             Redeployment on health grounds

•             Request to be excused from night work/late shifts on health grounds

•             Fitness to attend disciplinary hearings

•             Income Generation cases requesting OH physician

•             Cases involving complex grievances or disciplinary matters

•             Cases with serious concerns severe alcohol/substance misuse issues

•             Complex medical or psychiatric issues

In addition to the occupational health service the city council also has its own internal back care advisor who can offer advice and guidance and training around postural awareness and muscular-skeletal issues. This service provides a 1:1 assessment and advisory report for both the staff member and their line manager.  Referrals can be made direct to prior to any occupational health involvement. 


Top 10 tips for back care


1. Exercise your back regularly – walking, swimming (especially back stroke) and using exercise bikes are all excellent to strengthen your back muscles but anything that you enjoy and helps you keep active will be beneficial.

2. Keep active and moving even when you have pain. Gentle walking and stretching will prevent stiffness. Also try to avoid long periods of bed rest as this is counterproductive.

3. Always lift and carry objects close to your body, bend your knees and your hips not your back and never twist and bend at the same time.

4. Try to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle as this will help prevent back pain. Quit smoking as it increases your chances of developing back pain.

5. Use painkillers when pain occurs to allow you to carry on being active. If pain is persistent see your GP as they may be able to prescribe stronger painkillers or investigate further.

6. Consider your work environment. If you work in an office look at your workspace and ways to adapt it to help you manage your back pain. If your work is more manual in nature try to be aware of and work according to health and safety procedures such as manual handling or loading procedures.

7. Try to carry loads in a rucksack and avoid carrying single sling bags.

8. Always try to maintain good posture. Avoid slumping in your chair, hunching over your desk and walking around with your shoulders hunched up.

9. Always use a chair with a back rest and sit with your feet flat on the floor or on a foot rest. Don’t forget to change your sitting position every few minutes.

10. If you do suffer from back pain caused or made worse by being at work, talk to your manager or HR department. They may be able to help you come up with adaptations to your work environment, patterns and activities in order to help you better manage your back pain.



Further back care guidance PDFs can be found on W:\_SHARED\Back Care


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