An interview with Dr Doreen Miller

Doreen Miller

Tell us a bit more about yourself?

I’ve never been great at talking about myself, but I am absolutely passionate about occupational health and wellbeing at work. Throughout my life I have always enjoyed the process of discovery, I was always an enquiring child – I loved to know what people did and how they lived their lives, and still do.

My interest in people led me to become a doctor and from there my continued curiosity led me into Occupational Health.  Occupational Health is the one subject that I never tire of learning about. I am so thankful that my passion relates to my work, it motivates me to get me out of bed every morning – I always have a problem to solve! Every business is different: every employee is unique.

Employee sickness, absence and poor performance at work is a growing challenge for employers, and my mission is to help business owners and leaders get to the root cause of sickness and poor performance at work, resulting in healthier and more productive employees and healthier and more profitable businesses.

I’m proud to have recently written a (soon to be launched) book. We were working to a launch date of March 2020 but when the COVID-19 epidemic hit, I realised there was so much more to write about the implications of the virus in the workplace, which led me to write a new chapter.

The book takes a holistic risk management approach to problems in the business. We are all in this together – CEO’s, Finance directors, HR professionals, Health& Safety professionals Occupational Health and line managers. When there is a people problem in any business, we all have a part to play.

The book is titled The Healthy Business Bridge – How employee health creates business wealth. I’m very proud of it and I can’t wait to see it launched.

So, why have you decided to write this book?

Because I am passionate about helping CEO’s and HR professionals adopt a preventive approach to sickness absence and poor performance using my R-O-P-E system which  results in healthy, engaged  employees, working in a healthier, safer  and more profitable business.

Recent statistics shared by The Health and Safety Executive highlight the importance of ensuring the workplace is a safe place to work. There are some sobering statistics:

  • 1.4m workers are suffering from work-related ill health in 2018/19
  • 44% of those are suffering from stress, depression or anxiety
  • 37% of those are suffering from musculoskeletal disorders
  • 12,000 lung disease deaths each year are estimated to be linked to past exposure at work

Whilst every business and ever person is unique, often the same challenges arise just in a different format. My book was created to help guide CEO’s HR professionals and line managers step-by-step, towards finding the root cause of ill-health within their business.

You talk about the R-O-P-E System™️ in your book, tell us more?

After years of delivering reactive solutions to sickness absence, in order to get employees well and back to work quickly, I wanted to find a long term solution.

With the help of the team at Miller Health, we discovered that a proactive step-by-step way forward enabled us to find the root cause of employee’s ill-health symptoms and poor employee performance within a business. The R-O-P-E System™ was then created.

Each of the pillars within the R-O-P-E System™️ represents a core element of the business comprising Roles, Organisation, People and the Environment. Applying the principles of the system leads to healthy and productive employees resulting in a healthier and more profitable business.

Tell us more about your career?

Throughout my career, I have worked closely with H.R. Directors, Business Owners and Occupational Health colleagues.

During my career at Marks and Spencer, I was initially  involved in getting sick employees back to work as a store doctor. Later I spent seven years working in a multi-disciplinary team helping M&S suppliers in textile and food factories around the UK and in Europe, Israel and the US to see the value that occupational health could bring to the health and productivity of their businesses.

I enjoy looking for innovative solutions. I worked with an ergonomist to design a machinist chair for textile workers. This was later adapted for food till staff in M&S stores and I am proud that it can still be seen in stores today. I also worked with an organisational psychologist to find solutions to problems arising with food till staff: This new system was later introduced into all UK stores to help them resolve other business issues.

In 1994 I founded Miller Health Management, with a focus on Occupational Health, working with HR professionals in order to address the root cause of employee sickness absence and poor performance through improving business health.

What’s been the highlight in your career? 

I’ve had so many highlights, but one of them was when Lord Rose offered to write the foreword to my book.

“I commend Doreen’s book as authoritative and engaging with many enrichening stories from her work and the results she has achieved.  We have known each other since my days at M&S.  She is remarkable in her commitment to bringing innovative ideas and concepts to optimising employee health and business profitability in an increasingly challenging world of work with the belief we’re all in this together”

Lord Rose – Chairman of Ocado Group plc and former chairman of Marks and Spencer plc

For the full foreword click here.

How has COVID-19 affected Occupational Health?

Much of the world has undergone significant change over the past few months and mental and emotional health, fear and anxiety, as well as safety at work, are likely to be big issues as the country returns back to work.

Every employer will be thinking about health and safety at work, and COVID has bought a new, complex challenge for us to navigate through.

Tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know?

Can I tell you 2 things?

When I work with new people, I always try to find out what makes them smile. It can tell you so much about a person. I have a photo of Fred and Daisy, 2 pug dogs that make me smile every time I look at it.

I also like to live by the mantra

“it’s not what you say to people it is how you leave them feeling”.

Please get in touch if I can help you or your team…

Doreen Miller

Tel: +44 (0)333 900 9280

Email: [email protected]

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Make an appointment for a free no obligation call with Dr. Doreen Miller