Over 200 million working hours a year are lost to healthcare appointments, costing UK businesses an estimated £900 million in paid sick leave according to Unum.
Research carried out by the insurer, based on a survey of 2,000 employees ad Office for National Statistics data, found around 201 million working hours were lost.
The research found the average full-time worker spent 8.3 hours attending appointments each year, making 3.1 visits to their GP and 1.7 visits to specialists. Of this time, 2.5 hours was spent in company time at an average cost per employee per year of £37.37.
The survey found that 60 per cent of respondents found taking time off for these appointments ‘stressful’, and 25 per cent said they had to cancel an appointment due to personal issues or their workload being too high. It found 62 per cent of full-time workers who had to cancel a healthcare appointment said their health deteriorated to some extent as a result.
The research found 77 per cent of workers reported their productivity at work is impacted while waiting for appointments.
Unum UK chief executive Peter O’Donnell says: “Good employers understand the importance of enabling workers to attend their health care appointments promptly and it’s concerning that so many feel stressed about taking this time out.
“What’s even more worrying is the number reporting worsening conditions either due to missing an appointment or having to wait a long time to get the help they need.
“We know that access to convenient medical support can sometimes be difficult for workers and their families and we wanted to offer a service that made a tangible difference. Early treatment can often result in a quicker resolution to a medical issue and bring added peace of mind.”
Unum launched its Help@hand app last year giving employees access to remote GPs, second opinions, mental health support, and physiotherapy. The app is available to all covered by Unum group income protection policies.
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