Roundtable stimulus paper
The impacts of COVID-19 on work and employment
21 12 2020
The scale of the economic impact of COVID-19 is yet to be fully understood, but the effect on employment rates and patterns is becoming increasingly clear and has already been profound. There are also strong reciprocal links between health and employment, with a robust evidence base showing that good work is good for physical and mental health and wellbeing, and that employment is a primary determinant of health. In turn, good health supports good work and productivity. More broadly, the current economic crisis stems from a global health pandemic, and it will be through an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery that we can continue to invest in good health and good work across the UK.
The NHS already supports employment priorities such as providing ‘good work’, employee health and wellbeing, population health related employment programmes, and employment support or health and work interventions. However, as the largest employer in England and as a major purchaser of goods and services, the NHS could play an even greater role in helping tackle the employment impacts of COVID-19 and supporting economic recovery.
NHS England and NHS Improvement commissioned Learning and Work Institute to identify opportunities the NHS could rapidly develop to address the employment impacts of COVID-19 and support social mobility. This work involved a rapid review of evidence and a roundtable discussion focused on how the NHS can strategically use its economic status and assets to stimulate recovery at a local, system, regional and national level. In October 2020, over 40 participants from across health and social care, government departments, universities, colleges, local authorities, and the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector came together to discuss how the NHS should move forward.