@ Brigstock Medical Practice

141 Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, CR7 7JN

07970 949346 07920 094663

location-icon phone-icon

News and Advice

Welcome to The Health Alliance


Here you will find news and advice for you and your business.

By shoby1128, May 23 2018 07:28PM

You may have had it mentioned to you before, you may have even been required to have this performed previously, but in this month's blog we will focus on all aspects relating to “face fit tests.”

We frequently have business owners contacting us to ask "do we need to undertake a face fit test for our dust masks?" Quite simply YES you do. If your business has opted and followed the ranking of risk assessments to reduce or eradicate the respiratory hazard as far as is sensibly practicable and there is still a residual risk to the respiratory health of your employees, then some form of respiratory protective equipment (frequently referred to RPE) should be used to control the hazard. A major cause of leaks is primarily a result of a poor fitting mask. In instances such as these, tight-fitting face pieces need to fit the wearer’s face to be effective.

Why is it important to perform a face fit test?

Quite simply, if you administer respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to any of your staff or your work force, it is pivotal you have sufficient documentation to reflect this and to show the RPE fits the relevant individual/wearer. By implementing each wearer to a face-fit test you can rest in the knowledge that your business is meeting the necessary needs and fulfilling the necessary requirements which is outlined in the Health & Safety Executives.

Why it's important for an employee to wear respiratory protective equipment?

If you are an employee reading this article we cannot stress enough how important respiratory protective equipment is. In short it can save your life! Over the years various workers have died as a result of entering constricted spaces without the necessary respiratory protective equipment or not wearing the relevant equipment correctly.

Many of the gases, dusts and vapors that emanate when individuals are exposed to them can cause serious damage to both their lungs and other parts of the body and they are often invisible to the naked eye. By having the necessary respiratory protective equipment in place and worn correctly, it can protect individuals from these hazardous substances that can cause serious diseases.

What requirements are necessary to carry out a face fit test?

We strongly recommend a capable and experienced individual should undertake a face fit test. An individual should show aptitude and ideally be a part of the BSIF Fit2Fit Fit Testers Accreditation Scheme, although it is worth noting this isn't compulsory.

We here at The Health Alliance, are passionate about working with businesses and we can help you by offering face fit tests. To learn more about these services or to book us, simply call us on 07970 949346|07920 094663 or drop us an email [email protected]

How often should relevant face fit tests be undertaken?

It is strongly recommended and deemed good business practice to have a system in place to ensure repeat Fit Testing is carried out on a consistent basis. This is especially important when respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is used frequently as a primary means of exposure control, e.g. annual testing for workers involved in licensed asbestos removal.

Record keeping

A record should be kept of the test which should clearly state the mask make, model and size of the mask tested. Records and any specific information relating to the face fit tests should be valid (up to date) and always available for inspection wherever necessary.

How frequently should a business carry out a face fit?

The fit face test should be carried out "routinely" or in instances where the wearer of the mask gains or losses excessive weight. A test should also be performed should the wearer undergo any considerable dental treatment or develops any facial changes (this could relate to scarring/moles amongst other aspects).

To book an individual test or group session

To book just call us on 07970 949346|07920 094663 or email us on [email protected] and we will happily support and guide you through the process. Based locally to Croydon we are accessible to both the M25 and London. It is also worth noting we also offer a fully mobile service whereby we come to you to help minimise any disruption to your workforce.

By shoby1128, Apr 17 2018 05:41AM

Stress has featured prominently in the news of late, but it isn’t a new problem. The burden of stress is part and parcel of all work and helps to keep us motivated, but a disproportionate amount of stress or work-related pressure can lead to stress which ultimately undermines efficiency, and can make people ill.

The need to tackle stress is well documented in legal aspects of the law. Under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers are obliged to undertake a risk assessment for health hazards at work – including stress – and to take action to curb that possibility. It is also important to remember that people don't need to cope with work-related stress alone. Here are a few of our tips that we'd recommend:

Don't ignore the symptoms

First and foremost, don't ignore the symptoms. If you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed by a situation or burnt out, talk it through with someone you can trust – this may be your line manager, HR or just a co-worker. It is also important to analyse what may be the cause of the stress. Whilst there aren't always simple fixes for being extremely busy or under pressure, it is important to remember your employer has a duty of care to you and there may be changes or adjustments you can make to enhance the situation.


Communication is central, so the most important thing you must do is accept you are suffering from work-related stress and make sure management are aware. Sometimes management may invariably miss the signs, and won't be able to help you unless you confide in them on the situation. There is no shame or embarrassment to ask for help. Set realistic time constraints, and it is always worth reviewing if there is anything outstanding to see whether these can be extended. Don't get overwhelmed or daunted by situations and remember to keep everything in perspective.

Prioritise and plan ahead

Not being in control can cause stress in itself. Wherever possible create a simple word document, or keep a handwritten list of "things to do" along with any notes relating to completion dates. You can add and amend notes as you go along. It is also advisable to introduce a separate list for any meetings scheduled/phone calls. You can monitor this list at a set time which will help keep you focused. It may be worth noting if anyone else is involved in a particular project, you can perhaps schedule regular email updates with members of the team to provide updates wherever necessary, and make them aware in case of any unexpected setbacks.

One thing at a time

Regardless of whether it is at work, college or in your personal life remember one thing at a time. You are likely to feel improved and less stressed if you just do one task at a time. This will make it easier for the individual to focus and to do a job to a superior quality.

Ask instead of guessing

Reading a colleague's mind or second guessing a situation is never ideal. Misinterpretation is never ideal so it is paramount you opt to communicate instead. It will result in significantly less clashes, adversity and waste less of your and other people’s time.

Set clear realistic goals for your day

It goes without saying but this is extremely significant. It is important for individuals to have a good balance between rest and work. It is important to have that time where you switch off, even if it is only to sit and watch your favourite soap or to have a bath. If you work excessive hours, or your personal circumstances in life have become increasingly traumatic then your body will need more cortisol-hormone. The hormone aids concentration and keeps on going in testing situations. If stress becomes deep rooted, it can result in you being tired all day and feeling wide awake when you’re trying to sleep. This materialises because your body produces cortisol at the wrong time of the day. By doing things that you love, your body generates endorphins which in turn reduce pain. When you're very happy, your body produces the happiness hormone 'oxytocin'. That is the best antidote against stress and depression.

Take a break

We all need to take a break sometimes. Some like to switch off by relaxing in their home surroundings with family and friends, some like to go on holiday and some opt to go for a country walk. It's important to remember that everyone is different, but from time to time we all need to take a step back to preserve our sanity. Taking frequent short breaks is important to reinvigorate your brain and give you time to recuperate. It's also important not to feel guilty. If you choose to take a break, you're not shirking accountability to your daily commitments.

If you opt for a holiday or a short break, they invariably provide "space and a switch-off time" for the individual from the rigours and pressures of daily life. It goes without saying but the majority of us feel less stressed when we're not in a stressful setting. Relaxation is a tremendous way for an individual to take a step back from life's stresses and unwind. It helps them to relieve any tension they may be feeling and keep anxiety under control.

Get a good night's sleep

I know it goes without saying but a good night's sleep is crucial and is the most important thing to your health. A distinct lack and loss of sleep impacts the body's organ system. If an individual doesn’t get sufficient sleep, it can impact their memory and general disappointments can seem heightened. Individuals may also be irritable and snappy and you may want to eat starchy, fatty, or sugary foods.

How can The Health Alliance help?

Support can come in many forms, however, if the pressure and stress is ongoing The Health Alliance can help. As Occupational Health specialists we can arrange health and well-being assessments for a workforce. Specific measures can be taken to help relieve and manage stress symptoms which can involve access to mindfulness techniques and health practitioners. We can also work with the management team and equip them with the knowledge of how to spot the signs of stress. This can help minimise reoccurrences in the future and encourage a healthy workforce.

Contact us today on 07970 949346 or 07920 094663 to discuss further.

By shoby1128, Mar 9 2018 07:19AM

Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental health is something which is no longer a taboo subject with various charities and organisations now highlighting how prevalent mental health is working to bring it to the forefront allowing those suffering to seek the appropriate help without any stigma being attached. However, there is still a long way to go! It is now estimated that 1 in 4 people in the UK each year will experience some form of mental health condition at some point in their life.

November 2017 saw the Benenden report published which looked at attitudes towards mental health in the workplace and specifically whether employers just "tick the boxes" on the subject with regards to their employees. 1000 employees completed an in-depth survey on the subject with 10 of these then being interviewed one-to-one by telephone to gain more insight into what mental health conditions employees are being affected by and how their employers have responded to this. Participants were from across the UK and were a mix of men and women of all ages doing a wide range of jobs including healthcare and retail to prevent any biased results. Most of the participants (70%) had experienced some form of mental health, be it from stress, anxiety, panic attacks to post traumatic stress and 8 in 100 employees having a history of self-harm. However, only 43.8% of those questioned, said they knew of a colleague who had a mental health condition indicating that topic wasn't discussed in the workplace.

What are the causes of mental health in the workplace?

There are many different causes of mental health conditions, but today's busy hectic lifestyle can definitely contribute to feelings of stress and lower levels of wellbeing. With the advent of modern technology, we often feel a slave to our smart phones and iPads, always being on the go and being contactable day or night - be it by work or via social media. Gone are the days of jobs being 9am - 5pm with many opting to work from home fitting work around family life and working well into the night. Of those interviewed the top three causes of mental health issues in the workplace are: increased workload (38.2%); financial concerns and workplace bullying followed closely by work pressures and meeting deadlines. Over half of people said that their job had become more stressful in the past 5 years and 61.3% said that it was now more difficult to achieve a good work-life balance compared to 5 years ago.

What did the Benenden report show?

The report states that unfortunately, many UK businesses simply view mental health policies as a tick box exercise instead of providing actual support to staff with over half of the workforce saying there isn't a policy on mental health or being unaware if there is one. Surprisingly, only 23% of employees questioned said that their place of work regularly discusses mental health issues with less than 1 in 10 employees saying they would confide in their employer if they had a mental health problem. 14% of those questioned admitted to previously having suicidal thoughts. In addition to the report's own statistics, a 'Business in the Community Study' discovered out of 3000 participants questioned, 15% said they would face dismissal or disciplinary action if they discussed their own mental health illness with their employer.

Interestingly, older employees were less likely to disclose that they had suffered from a mental health related condition such as stress and anxiety compared to younger employees, which possibly indicates that the silence around mental health is being broken amongst the younger generations.

Those employees that did have mental health problems mainly sought help from their GP, family and friends or dealt with the issues alone, with less than 1 in 10 seeking support from their employer. When asked who they would confide in at work, 35.2% still insisted no one, while 34.1% would confide in their line manager, then a colleague, followed by HR.

When the employees were asked what they would do if a colleague was struggling with their mental health, 68.9% said they would offer support to them directly. According to the report, the main reasons for not discussing mental health issues with employers are embarrassment and worries about job security. It is the role of the employer to break this and encourage their staff to talk about mental health concerns creating a supportive environment, not one where people feel they will be judged.

The Health Alliance can support employers in this respect with its bespoke Occupational health service which provides tailored and confidential consultations for your employees suffering from mental health issues

Do employers operate a tick-box culture when it comes to mental health?

It is in the interests of businesses to maintain a supportive relationship with staff, promoting wellbeing. A happy healthy workforce = more productivity! However, in some companies, staff are unsure if their employers even have a policy on mental health and wellbeing with 22.1% saying that mental health is not a major concern to the company. 7.2% of employees said that there is a policy but it's not enforced. It appears that the larger the business, the more likely they are to have a policy.

The fact that there is a lack of clarity surrounding the subject, indicates strongly that many businesses are operating a tick-box culture having the policy in place but not actually giving their staff access to the support they need in times of difficulty. 45.6% of those interviewed said that they would seek alternative employment if adequate support was not offered.

Why should employers look after their staff's mental health?

Employers should acknowledge and provide support to their staff who are suffering from a mental health condition/issue, no matter how mild or severe it is. This benefits both parties - the employee will feel well supported and will get the help that is needed and the employer is more likely to retain a happy productive workforce rather than one which is plagued by stress and anxiety leading to depleted staffing levels due to sick leave (15.8 million working days were lost in 2016 due to mental health conditions - Office for National Statistics). Of those who took part in the survey and who had mental health issues, 43.5% took 10+ days off sick. Younger employees were more likely to take time off as are women compared to men. It also appeared that those working in a large business were more likely to be off sick for 10 or more days compared with those working for a small-medium sized business. The simple act of increasing wellbeing amongst staff (via support programmes and different types of therapy) goes a long way and can be invaluable to employers' business!! With 7 in 10 employees having suffered from a condition relating to mental health, it's a great time for employers to strike up awareness and support on the topic increasing wellbeing.

What can employers do to help with mental health in the workplace?

From those that participated in the survey, 51.8% said they would just like the offer of help and support from their employer, followed by simply listening, offering time off and reviewing their workload.

Companies can offer an Employee Assistance Programme which generally provides a 24/7 healthcare line providing advice. This enables the employee to speak to someone completely impartial and independent to the workplace in confidence meaning they don't have to tell their employer if they don't want to. 69.1% of those interviewed said they would use such a service if available.

Many employees (83.2%) feel that it would be beneficial for companies to provide training to line manages on mental health awareness seeing this is the person they are most likely to confide in at work.

For businesses, it can be a daunting prospect of where to start on offering support for mental health, so consider the following :


" Create a culture of openness

" Create a mental health policy

" Provide training

" Prioritise work-life balance

" Offer professional help

The Health Alliance can support you with a bespoke package looking at the well being of your workforce.


" Adapt as necessary

" Allow time off

" Be flexible

" Provide extra support

" Offer professional help


" Phased return

" Develop an action plan

" Offer professional help

" Continually prioritise mental health


At The Health Alliance our team can offer individual support to your employees so that your business can be as productive as possible.

Please comment below with your thoughts on the report, we'd love to hear your feedback.

All facts and figures taken from the Benenden Mental Health in the Workplace Report, November 2017

By shoby1128, Aug 19 2017 10:37AM

The term “mental health” includes emotional well-being, mental health conditions and mental illnesses. Mental health, like physical health, can fluctuate but everyone’s experience of mental health is different and unique to them.

In some cases, employers will be legally obliged to take certain steps if the legal definition of disability is met, however it is worth reflecting on some of the headline statistics* on mental health in the workplace,

• One in six workers suffer from anxiety, depression and unmanageable stress each year.

• 74% of people with a mental health problem for more than a year, are out of work.

• 55% of those with depression of anxiety for more than a year are out of work.

• 49% of workers would not be comfortable disclosing a mental health issue at work.

• Workplace mental ill-health costs employers around £26 billion per year.

• In 2015, 18 million days were lost to sickness absence caused by mental health conditions.

• Those with a severe and enduring mental illness are exposed to premature mortality rates of up to 15-20 years.

*Source – Employers Law

• More than one in five (21 per cent) of employees agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them

• 14 per cent agreed that they had resigned and 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them

• 30 per cent of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’

• 56 per cent of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don't feel they have the right training or guidance

Source Mind.org.uk

If you as an employer are struggling to implement effective tools to assist you and your employees dealing with mental health, this is where we can assist, as our team of experts provide employers with assistance in dealing with staff in relation to mental health & wellbeing.

This can include an initial assessment with an employee or working with your managers to ensure they have the tools and training in place to deal with staff who may be experiencing mental health issues.

This will enable your work place to become somewhere that people feel they can talk about mental health and feel confident they will get the help & support they need.

By guest, May 17 2017 05:23AM

Welcome to our website. There will be updates coming soon with news and advice for you and your business. In the mean time please contact us to discuss our services.

The Health Alliance

RSS Feed

Web feed