To assess the feasibility and acceptability of conducting a trial of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a new case-management intervention to facilitate the return to work of healthcare workers on sick leave with a common mental disorder (CMD).


A mixed methods feasibility study.


Systematic review examined forty articles and two guidelines. Forty-nine National Health Service Occupational Health (OH) providers completed a usual care survey. We trained six OH nurses as case-managers and established six recruitment sites. Forty-two out of 1938 staff on sick leave with a CMD were screened for eligibility, 24 participants were recruited. 94% were female. Eleven participants received the intervention and 13 received usual care. Engagement with most intervention components was excellent. Return-to-work self-efficacy improved more in the intervention group than the usual care group. Qualitative feedback showed the intervention was acceptable.


The intervention was acceptable, feasible and low cost to deliver, but it was not considered feasible to recommend a large-scale effectiveness trial unless an effective method could be devised to improve the early OH referral of staff off sick with CMD. Alternatively, the intervention could be trialled as a new stand-alone OH intervention initiated at the time of usual OH referral.

Key words

Mental health, sickness absence, case-management, healthcare workers, interventions, occupational health
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of public health
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2022


  • Mental health
  • sickness absence
  • healthcare workers
  • case-management
  • interventions
  • occupational health


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