The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is responsible throughout the UK for implementing the Government’s maritime safety policy. That includes coordinating search and rescue at sea through Her Majesty’s Coastguard and checking that ships meet UK and international safety rules. They work to prevent the loss of lives at the coast and at sea to ensure that ships are safe and to prevent coastal pollution.

They employ approximately 1,200 staff and have 3,500 volunteers who work throughout the UK from over 200 remote locations. The contract value is £800,000 over 3 years.

The following services are provided across the breadth of the UK:

  • Work Health Assessments (formally Pre – Employment)
  • Health Surveillance
  • Absence Management
  • Rehabilitation and return to work programmes
  • Reports provided clear, evidence based advise
  • Provision of wellness and health promotion
  • Support in writing and development of policies and procedures

Santia successfully won the contract to provide the Occupational Health service within a highly competitive and testing tender process. The MCA is a demanding and diverse organisation requiring flexibility, attention to detail, excellent communication skills, robust service delivery models and clinical excellence. As a result we have been totally innovative in our approach and by working in close partnership with the MCA have introduced a totally bespoke solution to health surveillance and sickness absence management.

The purpose of the occupational health service is to support the MCA’s organisational performance through proactively identifying and minimising risks, keeping their people healthy productive and safe, removing avoidable costs and improving business performance.

The MCA required a comprehensive but flexible service to be delivered through a combination of remote and on-site services. They were looking for a provider who would work collaboratively with them to develop the service and who would ensure that implementation and service delivery was effective and well managed in line with their specific needs. Development of ‘bespoke’ work health assessments (previously pre-employment) to establish baseline norms and fitness for work together with the introduction of specific health surveillance standards have been achieved by working closely together with sector managers. We have recently updated the processes and procedures in line with the recent introduction of the Equalities Act.

Online work health assessments and night worker assessments are undertaken remotely and all face to face assessments are by carefully planned OH Advisor clinics around the MCA’s tight timescales.

The MCA has an expectation of robust case management with active intervention providing managers and HR with advice and guidance for both short and long term absence cases. Due to the geographical diversity of the organisation this aspect of the service is delivered remotely by telephone case management enabling a more proactive and swift turnaround for both employee and employer. By using our online management referral service all employees are able to have a consultation within 24-48 hours of their referral. Comprehensive, evidence based written reports are available within 48 hours of the consultation being undertaken.

In consultation with the MCA, we put together rehabilitation programmes which need to be detailed, role specific and time limited. Our delivery model allows for early intervention and sign posting to other practitioners such as physiotherapy and counselling to ensure appropriate advice, assistance and treatment is provided. Using our cost benefit analysis process, the MCA sees the benefits of early intervention which ultimately facilitates a prompt return to work.

Detailed awareness sessions with local managers were undertaken over the first 6 months of the contract to ensure that everyone was aware of exactly what services were to be provided, where and by whom. A partnership approach was taken to these awareness sessions with OH and MCA Human Resources providing input.

Building relationships with key stakeholders has been vital to the success of the service. Contract Managers being appointed by both sides has also had a fundamental impact on the success. These managers meet monthly to discuss day to day activity and prioritising activity going forward. Such meetings can now be undertaken via teleconference rather than face to face meetings.

Quarterly contract review meetings take place where we provide a full report on the quarter activity, trends and where we see improvements, innovation or changes are required to continually move the service forward.

Other areas of work have been implementing on line DSE assessments, health promotion activities and a significant area has been planning and implementing a UK wide health surveillance programme. This has involved meticulous planning given the diversity of the majority of their geographical locations and involved the development of new health surveillance standards for the organiation.

Through provision of management information we have been able to identify certain trends and have implemented a number of wellness and wellbeing projects for employees using materials via the intranet together with health awareness sessions tackling key topics such as breast awareness and testicular cancer.

Working in partnership with the MCA we have developed and assisted in the introduction of occupational health policies and procedures and have put together a handbook for all managers/locations together with details that sit on their intranet for ease of reference.

Back to case studies