It is not right to say that reintegration routes for people with long-term illnesses have met with only limited success, according to Labour Minister Kris Peeters, whose cabinet stresses that “provisional trends show that quite a few such routes were launched in 2017”. It’s only the number of successfully completed routes that is limited for the moment, his cabinet added.
The new legislation regarding the rapid return to work of people with long-term illnesses through a reintegration pathway specially worked out by a work doctor had a limited degree of success in its first year. Long-term patients were often sent too late to a work doctor, and 60% of those polled ended up resigning, VRT NWS reported based on a study by IDEWE, a non-profit occupational service for well-being at work.
Kris Peeters finds this conclusion premature. “The provisional trends show that in 2017, quite a few paths to reintegration – about 12,000 – were launched by occupational doctors from the prevention services,” his cabinet says. The number of successfully completed paths, on the other hand, has remained limited, but “the new IDEWE figures give us hope for improvement, since they indicate that in almost 30% of cases, adapted employment was offered”.
“I am aware that reintegration is still a relatively new concept and requires a change of mentality that will take some time, but I am convinced that workers facing long-term health problems must also have the opportunity to return to work thanks to a tailored employment,” the minister said.
Peeters has asked the National Labour Council, together with Social Affairs and Health Minister Maggie De Block, to evaluate the system “to see if adaptations are necessary or if there are infancy pains that need to be corrected.”