Archive for 2009

Sickness Absence – Really?

Dec 19, 2009

Several recent reports are enough to send shivers down the spine of employers during the cold winter months and need to be taken into consideration when agencies produce their annual absence statistics so that we know the real reasons behind the figures. They relate to alcohol induced absence and employees taking advantage of bad weather. (Continue reading …)

Flexible Benefits – A False Economy for Healthcare

Dec 11, 2009

A recent survey carried out by Mercer has shown that 39% of respondent companies had seen a reduced cost in benefits provision by introducing a flexible benefits programme. That’s all well and good, but if employers think they are managing their health risk by leaving it to the discretion of their employees then,as I have argued before, this is pretty short sighted. It again raises the question as to why some employers treat healthcare as a benefit rather than what it really is,an effective risk management tool to reduce sickness absence and improve productivity.

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Missing the Blindingly Obvious – The Government’s Approach to Tackling Mental Ill-Health

Dec 10, 2009

Have you read the report ‘Working our way to better mental health: a framework for action’ recently issued by the cross departmental Health Work and Wellbeing team? There are 65 commitments to improving the problems associated with mental ill-health and work but not one to reduce the wait time in accessing the right clinical support through the NHS. (Continue reading …)

Role of GPs questioned again

Dec 08, 2009

The BBC has recently reported a huge variation between GPs in the same Trust when faced with signing off employees following surgery or heart attack. Only 1 in 20 surveyed followed government advice on sick leave whilst the average amount of training they had received in sickness certification was 4 hours. I can’t help but think that GPs play a major role in absence statistics, one that is very rarely investigated if at all.  (Continue reading …)

Direct Referral for Physiotherapy

Dec 04, 2009

One of the bigger private medical insurers has just announced that it is to allow its corporate members to self refer to a physiotherapist for musculoskeletal conditions without the need to be referred by their GP.  We introduced this concept at Medisure six years ago and here are the reasons why. (Continue reading …)

FirstCare and Xchanging form Strategic Alliance

Nov 30, 2009

I said I would be watching developments at FirstCare closely since their recent acquisition of Active Health Partners. Well it hasn’t taken long for the Absence Mangement company to hit the news again as they have announced today a strategic tie-up with Xchanging HR Services. (Continue reading …)

Health and Safety Incentive Programmes Backfire in US

Nov 23, 2009

I came across this article in the New York Times which highlights the problems of under reporting work-related injuries and illneses due to employers’ fear of compensation costs and employees’ fear of losing out on sickness payments or incentives such as ‘team steak dinners’. It’s food for thought.  (Continue reading …)

Boorman Final Recommendations on NHS Health and Wellbeing

Nov 23, 2009

Dr Steve Boorman has just published his final report and recommendations on how to improve the health and wellbeing of employees in the NHS. Reducing sickness absence in the NHS by a third would save £555m in direct costs, let alone the improvements we would see in staff productivity and patient care. Anyone with an interest in employee health and wellbeing strategy should take time to read it. His recommendations will not come as any real surprise to health and wellbeing practitioners but some are worth repeating here: (Continue reading …)

Queen’s Speech – Where was the 18 week NHS wait time guarantee?

Nov 19, 2009

After a blaze of publicity and the setting up of a consultation period, the government seems to have dropped its plans for the time being to guarantee the 18 week NHS wait time by law. I have yet to find any explanation. Have you?

FirstCare buys Active Health Partners

Nov 16, 2009

There has been some consolidation in the Absence Management Provider market with FirstCare taking over Active Health Partners(AHP). This will give FirstCare critical mass and economies of scale that should make their pricing more attractive to potential clients.

Having met the leadership team at AHP when they first hit the market several years ago, I always thought it was going to be difficult for them to recover their significant investment in the timescales they needed to. But is outsourcing absence management a price sensitive issue or really one of organisational culture? (Continue reading …)