Awards recognise a new approach to corporate healthcare

October 8, 2021

Last month, Gateshead-based Recovery4Life was honoured with the business diversification accolade at the North East England Chamber of Commerce Awards. This followed being crowned the winner of NEPIC’s innovation award. Here, chief operating officer Alexander Devitt talks about how one of the North East’s best kept secrets has – and will – continue to help businesses improve the health and wellbeing of its people, providing testimonials from those who have experienced working with Recovery4Life first-hand.  


 Since 2016, Recovery4Life, a specialist provider of occupational health services, providing testing, training and treatment for both physical and mental health issues, has been supporting the North East business community – helping businesses to support their most vulnerable staff, developing positive culture change and saving lives.

Despite this, Recovery4Life has largely remained the North East’s best kept secret, utilising very little marketing and social media; it has remained enigmatic, working discreetly behind the scenes.

It wasn’t until the start of the pandemic in early 2020 that Recovery4Life started to garner more media attention.

After winning NEPIC’s business innovation award earlier this year, last month Recovery4Life was awarded the North East England Chamber of Commerce’s business award for diversification, and was shortlisted for the Chamber’s business of the year award.

Recovery4Life’s chief operating officer Alexander Devitt explains why.

He says: “Our company ethos has always been to put our clients’ needs first.

“Even prior to the pandemic, our job was always to help clients safely achieve business continuity, regardless of the complexity of the issues presented.

“COVID-19 was a new challenge for us like anybody else, but our decision to ‘pivot’ and diversify our offering into coronavirus testing and risk management came quickly.

“Keeping business operational, keeping the workforce healthy, and protecting jobs have always been our
top priorities.

“In that sense, our diversification into COVID-19 was really an extension of the work we have been undertaking since we opened.

“Furthermore, the pandemic has highlighted the need for integrated occupational health services that can address the wide range of mental and physical issues that COVID-19 has exacerbated.

“Winning the NEPIC and Chamber awards is a tremendous victory and has been a great boost to the team.

“We are incredibly thankful for the recognition, and we look forward to representing the North East at the British Chambers of Commerce Awards.

“Fingers crossed we can bring it home!”

Even though Recovery4Life now runs multi-award winning COVID-19 services, Alexander maintains that it’s only one aspect of its wider work conduct.

True to Alexander’s word, the following case studies speak for themselves.


Complex needs

In 2018, I was alerted through our HR department that one of our drivers had disclosed he was planning to kill himself, and that he had been hearing voices in his head telling him to commit violent acts on other people.

This included instructions to drive his truck through our portable building offices. He also disclosed that he had been sectioned and released with no support or follow up from his doctor.

He was a young guy who we wanted to support but we were worried about the safety of our other staff. That’s when we contacted Recovery4Life.

They were amazing, they set out a full plan on how we could best support him, reviewed his medication and provided intensive psychotherapy sessions and ongoing statutory care.

The feedback from our employee was that he hadn’t felt better in years, and we were able to bring him back to work safely.

– Construction company HR director

Occupational health services

One of our younger team members, who works in a safety critical capacity, was driving a company vehicle down a motorway when he fell asleep at the wheel and nearly caused a crash.

Recovery4Life carried out a full assessment and identified that our employee, who had ADHD, had recently had his medication changed without being advised that a common side-effect was sudden tiredness and narcolepsy.

Recovery4Life was quick to respond to this and conducted a full health check and organised a new medication review with his GP.

We were over the moon to have our teammate back in work shortly after.

I highly recommend Recovery4Life. They saw him on the same day the referral was made and the entire process and plan they put in place was clear and easy to understand for me and the whole team.

– Highway maintenance company operations manager

Drug and alcohol testing services

As one of the region’s larger manufacturers, we operate a sizeable workforce. We had never done any drug testing on our site before, but we had started to hear more and more complaints that led us to believe that drug use was taking place.

We knew we had to something when one of our cleaners found a packet of white powder in the ladies’ bathroom.

We were nervous about the idea of introducing testing, we didn’t want to lose a big portion of our workforce, and we didn’t want to alienate anyone.

We started looking for potential suppliers and we got introduced to Recovery4Life – it was like a breath of fresh air.

They took care of the entire process, from the development of our drug and alcohol policy, to the introduction of an amnesty period and the delivery of the testing itself.

Recovery4Life put us at ease and reassured both our HR department, (and the union), that any testing programme put in place would be there to protect staff, not catch them out.

Thanks to Recovery4Life’s messaging, 42 people came forward during the amnesty period seeking support and six were identified as needing ongoing support for their mental health, which Recovery4Life also provided.

We now have a robust testing programme in place to this day and are grateful for Recovery4Life’s professionalism and hard work

– Manufacturing company HR manager

People-centred approach

We are pleased to have been using Recovery4Life’s expert testing services for nearly three years, which has allowed us to protect our most valuable resource – our people.

When the pandemic broke, the Recovery4Life team’s understanding of how the COVID-19 landscape was going to pan out was instrumental in helping us navigate through so much uncertainty.

Their foresight and advice supported us in carrying out the planning decisions required to keep our people safe and to minimise any potential impact to our operations.

Recovery4Life have managed the testing constraints admirably, and their advice and support, which is available 24/7, is always helpful and pragmatic.

Recovery4Life have worked hard to provide a structured approach throughout the entire testing process.

– Teesside-based company’s health, safety, environment and quality lead

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