A pilot project launched in Denbighshire in Wales has helped individuals in deprived areas return to work after sickness.
The Fit For Work Service was launched in Rhyl, Denbighshire, in May last year and so far has helped 153 individuals to return to work with 82% of them remaining in those jobs.
As it stands it is the only project of its kind in Wales, though 10 similar schemes have been launched across England and Scotland.
The Welsh project, which has now been extended for a further two years, assess individuals and offers them a range of treatments, including physiotherapy and professional counselling.
Manger of the project Bridgette Handley has said that more than 500 people had been referred to the service via their GPs or local employers and all were seeking help to return to work whilst they were in the early stages of sickness absence.
The scheme is aimed at helping these individuals back into work as soon as possible so that the risk of job loss or claiming benefits is reduced.
Lord Freud, the UK welfare reform minister has said that too many people have fallen out of work due to sickness absence and this scheme is playing a vital role in helping them to stay in work or to return more quickly.
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