Prior to the Covid pandemic, almost one in three medical appointments have been missed due to work pressures – and this is having significant effect on productivity, according to new research.
Research by employee benefits provider Unum found six out of 10 (62 per cent) workers say their health deteriorated as a result of waiting for, or delaying seeing a GP.
Meanwhile almost eight out of 10 (77 per cent) report that their productivity at work had been negatively affected as a result. Unum says this loss of productivity could present a huge cost to business.
With the majority of respondents (60 per cent) saying they find it ‘stressful’ to take time off work for medical appointments, almost one in three appointments were cancelled or missed due to work pressures.
Unum UK chief executive, Peter O’Donnell, says: “It’s extremely concerning that so many employees are struggling to fit in medical appointments. Prioritising work over health only creates a far bigger problem further down the line, often leading to a condition worsening and reduced productivity.
“Ensuring employees know they are supported in looking after their health obviously is more important than ever as we all battle the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“In just a few weeks UK businesses have embraced change on a level that would normally take years – home working has become the norm for many and we’re relying on technology and digital advancements in ways we haven’t before.
“Encouraging employees to use services such as remote GPs for concerns that don’t relate to Covid-19 can be invaluable when NHS medical services are under so much strain.”
Recognising how challenging access to healthcare support can be for workers and their children, Unum launched its Help@hand app last year, giving insured employees and their eligible family members access to a virtual GP service, a second opinion service alongside mental health support and physiotherapy.
The app is available to all employees insured through a Unum Group Income Protection policy at no additional cost.
More than 40,000 employees currently have access to Unum’s Help@hand services. Unum says it is being used by members for a range of medical conditions, including skin complaints, joint and muscular problems, children’s health and stress or anxiety.
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