Dr David Beaumont is an Occupational Physician and a Director of
Fit for Work. He is immediate Past President of the
Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM RACP). He
was lead for the Faculty project which led to the development of The New Zealand Consensus Statement on the
Health Benefits of Work.
David is passionate about the role that work plays in people’s
lives, and the positive impact of helping people stay in work or return to work
after illness or injury. He advocates for a team approach to health that sees
people in the context of their whole lives, moving beyond the medical model.
The Health Benefits of Work in Pain Management
Health benefits of work? It’s not long ago that people would have
laughed at this statement. Surely an oxymoron – what about the hazards of work?
Surely you have to be 100% fit to go back to work?
Research from the UK highlights that doctors there, GPs
specifically, have not seen a connection between work and health, and by
providing fully unfit medical certification have blocked appropriate return to
work. But ‘Active and able – independent with pain’ surely must include work?
The dangers of the medical model of practice is that it relies on
diagnoses to treat. Pain is poorly understood by the medical model, and results
in diagnostic labelling and iatrogenesis (inadvertent harm caused by doctors).
How we can we support GPs to help their patients with chronic
pain? What is the role of the doctor within a pain management team? Is it to
David and Lenny present a challenging view of the role of the
doctor, how we need to move to a position where work is considered a
therapeutic intervention in pain management, and beyond even the
biopsychosocial model to empower clients to take control (and responsibility)
for their symptoms by incorporating occupational physicians into the