Long term absence is a serious and expensive issue. Once an employee has been absent for 6-8 weeks their chances of returning to work are halved. This typically manifests itself due to feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety about returning to work, and can often prove more debilitating than the original cause of the absence.
In January 2012 Oasis as part of the Occupational Health and Safety Service established a programme called Fit4Work, an exercise referral based program, established for the use of exercise in the promotion of both physical and mental health. This program has been specifically developed to improve the health and wellbeing of employees, reduce sickness absence and promote an early return to work. OASIS work closely with Occupational Health, Operational Management and Human Resources to ensure an early return to work is achieved, and to identify what adjustments could be made, not only to help the employee return to work, but also stay at work.

The formal referral process uses exercise as a component of managing the clients long term goals, whilst managing the clients ‘condition’ with the objective of improving or reducing the rate of its progression and achieving an independent and sustainable increase in physical activity. This may or may not include additional physical activity recommendations.

Clients entering the scheme are seen by a fast track Assessing Practitioner, normally within 4 working days. If appropriate the client is then referred into the Fit4Work program and scheduled a start date, this is typically within the same week (course dependent).

The client is monitored and data is collected throughout the program. Upon completion, an exit strategy is formulated, and fed back to the referring professional. This may include for example, an agreed sustainable activity plan, or re-entry into the program.