The first in a national chain of centres that help sufferers of chronic back and neck pain to return to work has opened in Manchester.

The centre, which aims to reduce income protection and employers' liability payments, is handling cases for many leading insurers, such as Allied Dunbar, AIG Medical & Rehabilitation and UNUM.

The Human Focus Return to Work centre has a multidisciplinary team of a physiotherapist, a clinical psychologist, an occupational therapist and an orthopaedic surgeon. It prepares people to back into their previous occupations.

Human Focus director, Andrew Pemberton said: “There was an obvious gap in the market for this kind of service. Conventional rehabilitation is all too often geared at easing people's pain or improving function, which is great, but doesn't solve the problem for the insurer, the employer or even the claimant.”

The average patient programme lasts three months and has a success rate of 60-90%.

Human Focus is a joint venture between Human Focus and Rug Advies Centrum.