The healthmatters blog; commentary, observation and review
84% of employees in the healthcare industry are looking for better physical and mental wellbeing support in the workplace
- 75% believe that some of the National Insurance payments should be redirected towards improving wellbeing
- 81% do not believe the NHS has enough budget for wellbeing services
- 67% think the Government should be doing more to promote wellbeing
- 84% think their employer could do more to support the physical and mental wellbeing of employees
- 67% would use wellbeing services if their employer provided them
- 33% of line managers were unaware of the potential health issues related to sedentary behaviour*
With a rise in workplace-related stress, illnesses and mental health issues, almost two thirds (63%) of working adults in the healthcare industry believe that businesses are not doing enough to support the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees, according to a new study released today.
Current treatments such as health check-ups, cognitive behavioural therapy and chiropractic treatment are provided by the NHS, through National Insurance contributions, but 81% of those surveyed by Westfield Health stated that the NHS does not have the budget to provide wellbeing services like these.
So is National Insurance becoming unfit for purpose? Employees in the healthcare industry don’t seem to know, with 13% of employees knowing how much National Insurance they pay and only 45% knowing how much of the contribution goes where, be it the NHS, social security or their state pension.
With an ageing workforce and more hours spent in the office than ever, should the NHS’s frontline resources continue to be used for wellbeing services? The research found that 67% of workers in the healthcare industry would like to see the Government do more to promote their physical and mental wellbeing. And the vast majority 84% believe that their employers are specifically not doing enough to help employees deal with work-related stress, anxiety and other mental health issues.
Similar to the recent rollout of the workplace pension opt-out, could a government-backed auto-enrolment scheme for wellbeing programmes – funded by employers and by a portion of employees’ National Insurance contributions – be one of the solutions to address the NHS’s long-term financial needs?
Certainly the appetite is there in the healthcare industry with employees particularly prone to sedentary behaviour, poor nutrition and sleep deprivation, impacting on their overall health and productivity. As a result, 67% of employees stated they’d use wellbeing services if their employer provided them.
The top things they would like to be offered are:
- Health check-ups 57%
- Emotional wellness 55%
- Access to a gym 51%
David Capper, Commercial Director of Westfield Health, said: “The total number of UK working days lost to stress, anxiety and depression resulting from long working hours is 12.5million days. Therefore, it makes sense for employers to relieve some of the pressure through wellbeing initiatives. Not only would they be supporting our economy, they’ll make huge cost savings by looking after their staff’s health, with presenteeism now costing businesses up to three times more than absenteeism**.
“From sleep to nutrition and mental health to physical fitness, there are so many elements that contribute to your overall wellness, happiness and healthiness. In the healthcare industry, staff are particularly prone to being sedentary for long periods of time without a break at work, which puts them at serious risk of developing health problems such as heart problems, diabetes, cancer and weight gain.
“It’s more than free fruit in the office and discounted gym memberships. As business leaders, we need to create a culture where our people’s health and wellbeing is prioritised to drive confidence, capability, inspiration and ultimately prosperity.”
For more information about workplace health and wellbeing, please call 0331 227343 or visit www.westfieldhealth.com/business.
Responding to the British Social Attitudes survey on public attitudes to NHS funding, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare system, said:
“It is up to government how it raises funds for public services, but these figures clearly show that more of the public across the UK support more resources for the NHS and that they are willing to pay more tax to bring that about.
“The case for more money for both health and social care has been made and it is overwhelming. Just about everyone is calling on the government to act.
“Without action, our health and care system will continue to deteriorate; millions will wait, more will suffer and some will die. It is now clear that the cries for more funding are unequivocal.
“Our members are happy to be held to account but their plea is ‘give us the financial tools to do the job’. All fundraising options must be kept on the table.”
On average, Brits spend over eight hours a week on ‘me time’, although one in five say they are “not content”
Almost half of the nation spend less than an hour outside every day, which doctors reveal contributes to lower levels of wellness
Industry experts reveal lifestyle changes that will improve wellness
A new study into the nation’s wellbeing has revealed that British people rank their wellness as “average”, with time spent outside and time spent sedentary being key areas for improvement nationwide.
The findings are from a new report by leading health and fitness app, MINDBODY. Working with health and wellness professionals, the study of 2,000 UK adults considered the wellness habits of the nation, using a five-point Likert scale. Respondents were asked to rate their hours of sleep, sedentary hours, stress and anxiety levels, headspace (or ‘me time’), eating and drinking habits, time spent outside, current physical and mental health, and level of social satisfaction.
On average, the UK scored 28 out of a possible total of 45. Each question was scored out of five, which breaks down as:
Hours of sleep – Score 3.5 (6 hours and 36 minutes per day average)
Sedentary hours – Score 3.2 (The nation is sedentary for 5 hours 13 minutes per day)
Stress/anxiety levels – Score 3.2 (24% of UK adults are ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ stressed/anxious on an average day)
Headspace / ‘me time’ – Score 3.6 (The nation gets an average 8hrs 46 minutes per week)
Eating/drinking habits – Score 3.2 (On average, Britons view their eating/drinking habits as “somewhat healthy”)
Time spent outside – Score 2.1 (On average the nation gets two hours outside per day, but almost half spend less than an hour outside)
Current physical health – Score 3.2 (Overall, Britons describe their physical health as just “average”)
Current mental health – Score 3.3 (One in five people say they are “not content”)
Social satisfaction – Score 3.3 (Nearly a quarter (23%) say they are not satisfied with their social habits)
Hours of sleep and ‘me time’ are where Brits rank their habits highest, although the average amount of sleep still falls short of the recommended seven to nine hours² at just over six-and-a-half (6hrs 36 minutes).
Overall, none of the factors ranked significantly highly, with time spent outside showing as one of the main areas that detracts from overall wellness. According to MINDBODY’s research, whilst the national average for time spent in the great outdoors is two hours per day, almost half of the UK spend less than an hour outdoors in an average day.
Dr Ment, a Consultant Cardiologist at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, said: “More exercise in the fresh air means more oxygen to the lungs. This can help our white blood cells to function properly – fighting and killing bacteria and germs. It will also increase the amount of serotonin – the happy hormone – produced in your body, which is nature’s way of improving your mood.”
Dr Mark Silvert, Consultant Psychiatrist in London at The Blue Tree Clinic, added: “Exercise has many known benefits for good mental health. Studies have shown it can be as good for you as other treatments such as medication or therapy if you are suffering from things like ADHD, anxiety or depression.
“When we exercise we get a boost of endorphins which gives a feeling of happiness and well-being, we benefit from feeling better within our bodies, which can improve self-confidence and our physical health. Going to a gym or doing team sports can reduce isolation in an age where we can spend countless hours on our smart phones of tablets without leaving our homes for entire weekends.
“Getting outside into the fresh air is an almost forgotten past time. Get a dog, it will help you think of looking after “man’s best friend” and the bond between people and pets is also known to be healing when we are not feeling good.”
MINDBODY highlights in its corresponding report that all components of the Wellness Index are intrinsically linked, and the findings suggest there is room for development in all areas, which could ultimately boost the nation’s overall outlook on wellness.
Millennials (18-24s) had the lowest wellness score (26/45) and baby boomers (age 55+) had the highest at 29 out of 45. The average score did increase with age, with anxiety levels, mental wellness, sleep, and eating habits showing greatest improvement; suggesting that younger generations are feeling life’s pressures the most.
Kevin Teague, MD, commented on the research: “This (research) was key for us having a holistic view of the UK fitness market. MINDBODY has more data than any other entity in the world for what people do inside a studio, but we didn’t have a comprehensive picture of British wellness outside of the gym.”
Charlotte Newton, Senior Manager EMEA Marketing, added: “Wellness has become something of a buzzword in recent years, however the nation is now really beginning to sit up and pay attention to daily habits and how they affect overall wellbeing. It’s encouraging to see from the findings that, although the majority of the scores aren’t significantly high across the board, there are none that are worryingly low either, suggesting that we are moving in the right direction.
“The recent attention around wellness, both mental and physical, is hugely positive and we absolutely want to encourage more conversation and action around this topic. Hopefully our Wellness Index can form the foundations of conversations nationwide around how the UK can embrace wellness.”
To read the Wellness Index in full, and find out more about the nation’s fitness, wellbeing, health and social habits, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Not even healthcare organisations are exempt from Legionella outbreaks. Andy Smith, National Business Development Manager, Clearwater Technology, explains how they can be best avoided
For hospitals and healthcare organisations, preventing patients, staff and visitors from contracting Legionnaire’s disease is an everyday battle. The potentially fatal disease is at its most deadly in healthcare facilities, with new-born and elderly patients the most susceptible due to immunosuppression.
Legionnaire’s is caused by bacteria that can lurk in water systems and managing the risk should be of major importance in healthcare facilities. In order to safeguard patients, staff and all other visitors, facilities must implement effective Legionella control schemes that include regular monitoring. Only then can the risk be effectively controlled.
Implement a temperature control regime
Legionella bacteria naturally breed in fresh water; and therefore may be impossible to completely eradicate from any influent water source. Legionella become active when water is between 20C and 60C in temperature, therefore a temperature control regime is commonly used as a control measure for Legionella bacteria. In these instances, monitoring and record keeping is a major element of managing the risk, and providing evidence of risk management. Diligent record keeping is also critical to monitor the effectiveness of the control regime.
Introduce secondary disinfection measures
A further step in controlling the risk is introducing secondary disinfection measures. Secondary disinfection is the process of preventing the growth of pathogens throughout the entire water system by maintaining a consistent quality in the microbiological makeup of the water. Continuous secondary disinfection solutions can include Chlorine Dioxide (ClO2) dosing, Ultra-Violet (UV) disinfection and other chemical dosing systems. They can help reduce the cost of operation by minimising the requirement for hyper-chlorination procedures.
Secondary disinfection systems can be installed and maintained by some water treatment providers but these solutions can be applied to various different systems in different ways, therefore hospitals and healthcare organisations should enlist providers with extensive expertise in the healthcare sector. A solution that includes inline monitoring, remote control systems and alarms will go further in helping to manage the risk and strengthen the water safety plan.
Monitor cooling towers, water tanks, boilers, pipework closely
The presence of rust, sludge, scale and organic matter in water systems provides an ideal environment for Legionella bacteria that can breed freely. Cooling towers and boilers, commonly used in hospitals and healthcare sites, can be a breeding ground for these if not managed effectively. Effective management should include risk assessment, an effective chemical treatment regime, regular inspection and optimisation. The same goes for water tanks, pipework, and domestic systems where scale and other matter can build up as a result of ineffective management of plant and equipment such as cooling towers and boilers.
Make limited budgets go further with expert water treatment providers
With limited budgets and resources, it’s a challenge for hospitals and healthcare organisations to effectively keep track of their water temperatures while maintaining a consistent log that can prove the Legionella risk is being well managed. This is not simply a case of providing proof that temperature control measures are in place – it must also be proven that a full control scheme is in place with regular risk assessments being conducted.
Hospitals and healthcare organisations must therefore look to their water treatment providers to assist with the creation and implementation of control schemes that include the monitoring and regular logging of water temperatures on-site. The water treatment provider may also carry out all necessary risk assessments and provide transparent, easy-to-access reporting including GPS and time stamps with a fully documented trail, ensuring that, should the HSE investigate the site, those responsible for the site’s health and safety will have the peace of mind that all the required evidence of risk management can be provided.
It is paramount that hospitals and healthcare organisations enlist the expertise of water treatment providers that have experience and expertise in this sector, with a clear awareness of the challenges, and legislation specific to hospitals and healthcare facilities. The chosen water treatment provider must be able to tailor its services to individual hospital or healthcare businesses to ensure that the water treatment solutions are both economical and effective for the size and scale of water systems on each individual site.
With these services and measures in place, hospitals and healthcare organisations can continue their roles in serving the public with the peace of mind that legionella risk is being managed effectively.
The Third Era group is a small network of academics, care professionals, managers and politicians who share an interest in making our health and social care systems better. They share the view that as the era of markets and competition ends there will be a valuable opportunity to address some of the long-term issues which face our care systems. The group’s emphasis is on solutions that a progressive government could implement.
The group is coordinated by Prof Steve Iliffe and Richard Bourne, who have published a series of articles drawing on discussions within the group. See http://www.healthmatters.org.uk/era-3/ We welcome further contributions; please send them to Steve Iliffe (email@example.com) or Richard Bourne (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What Should Labour Do?
That our care system is in crisis is regularly reported. We know a lot about what is bad. Honest analysis suggests we also have serious long-term problems that cannot be wished away. If Labour wins the next election what should it do to make our care systems better, in the short, medium and longer terms? The Third Era group is debating possible solutions.
“Better” for us means increasing population wellbeing; maximising happiness by dealing with the social determinants of poor health and implementing policies which disproportionately favour the most deprived, the less well-off and the least powerful. It should be better also in ways the public actually want; shorter waits, easier to access and use, continuity in care. And it should be better in the technical sense of quality.
Some of the ideas about enabling the development of a better care system were set out by Don Berwick, but we have anglicised these, added to them and built in the ideological context. As with Berwick we believe the new Era will not be a return to the Bevanite bureaucracy of the 1970’s, nor to the markets and competition that followed it.
From this mix of requirements, wishes and ideology a consensus is emerging about some of the key features of a better health and social care system under Labour.
- Non market (mostly tax funded) –stability in funding
- Joined up (healthcare brought into the family of public services)
- Joined up (weakening boundaries between health and social care, physical and mental health, primary and secondary care)
- Tackling inequalities
- Open and transparent
- Democratic and participative
- Social model predominates, not the medical model.
- Devolved (local decisions about how care is organised and provided)
- Responsive to communities, embracing shared decision making
We are beginning to describe the gap between where we are now and where we would like to be, and as a group we are debating how the gap might be closed.
There is a lot of evidence out there that helps us. At system level we can observe Scotland and Wales as well as many EU neighbours, all of whom have systems that provide comprehensive universal care. There is also some evidence of what does or does not work in terms of models of care, pathways and service frameworks , more recently from the upheavals in England prompted by the 5 Year Forward View. This set of political experiments has begun to suggest some challenges for reformers. The hardest is that context and local factors are hugely important.
What works well in semi-rural A may not work as well in urban B. Rolling out good practice cannot be enforced. Small scale success often cannot be scaled up. All roads appear to lead not to Rome but back to where you started. There has to be a lot of flexibility around allowing local systems to innovate, adapt and even to fail. Reorganisation and restructuring does not achieve much; teambuilding, relationships and networks are far more important. The big isolated national NHS – top down, do what you are told, managed by shouting – is no longer an appropriate model.
Lurking behind this are the issues that are unresolved, and which are rarely even discussed. Should NHS principles be extended, should all care be free? How are the parts of the system held to account – who deals with failures and problems? Who controls the funding flow? Do we have local as well as national sources for funding? What is reserved for national and what is permitted to the local? How do we build the capacity for a better managed but more accountable system? How will vested interests be overcome for the common good? How long do we wait for improvements? Labour’s generally well received 2017 Manifesto sheds little light on these key issues.
Labour does have an absolute commitment to greater funding and to repeal of the marketisation legislation. But the money spoken of so far is not enough and what replaces the legislation poses nasty questions. Initially Labour can increase funding and that could bring some early benefits, especially in social care. Labour can and should remove the barriers to developing better care by legislation to remove the markets and competition. It can do many things to raise staff morale. It could target specific issues like long waits by throwing money at them. It can kick off the necessary work to plan for change and invest in change initiatives. It can facilitate more devolution and local decision making.
In the medium term it will have to build capacity for change. It can over time look at the requirements for more staff, scanners, ambulances, theatres – some of which have long lead times, so it should start now. Investment in human infrastructure is needed for better management, better informed Councillors, robust planning, and strengthened communities.
The longer term may in part just be the roll out of short term measures, but must be used to shift the conversations and change expectations and beliefs. The previous Labour government implemented many progressive changes but tried to pretend they had not because of electoral anxieties – so it never altered the national debate. The long-term goal is an irreversible shift in opinion to favour a public, comprehensive, universal system that cares for us all
More than 3,000 midwifery training course places will be created over the next four years as part of plans to meet NHS staffing demands.
However, this plan isn’t as simple as recruiting thousands more students as they requires the infrastructure to support them. We need more tutors, more on-site resources and perhaps more importantly, more mentors and capacity in placement areas – which currently are under immense strain. Not only that, currently numbers of applicants are being put off by lack of funding and we have seen a drop in applicants.
Regarding a named midwife, this has been in every maternity report since Baroness Cumberlege’s ‘Changing Childbirth’ report in 1993. Whilst small pockets of midwives do run this form of Midwifery to expect every midwife to be on call 24/7 for nine months is not really practical or feasible.
Alison Edwards- Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at Birmingham City University
A “Vision” might be an overstatement but there has to be a clear statement of aims – to improve care for all – to develop (over 2 terms) into a care system designed to increase population well being through prevention, early intervention, excellent primary, secondary and tertiary planned and emergency care and long term support. The system should be delivering outcomes comparable with the best in the world, reducing inequalities and being active in redistribution through public services provision.
The design should build on:-
- Berwick’s 9 principles for a more moral system (Era 3)
- Wanless’s 2002 fully engaged scenario ( the NHS will remain viable if the population engages fully with it)
- Care Act 2014 “I” statements (or the Patient Voices equivalent)
Core principles for healthcare need to be reinforced – comprehensive, universal, free at the time of need and tax funded. These principles can be extended to social care (and housing) over time. We can add new principles around accountability and quality. A strengthened Constitution will cover health and social care.
Health care will be fully integrated into the rest of the public sector within an overall system giving all the right to appropriate care and support – including public health, social care, housing and monetary support (through, for example, incapacity allowance, pensions and universal credit).
Care services will be planned and delivered based on a population approach with areas made up of one or more local authority areas. (not all STPs are coterminous now.) There will be local autonomy over the organisation of services within national frameworks.
There will be democratic accountability of the planning of services and resource allocation. Various permutations of health boards, care boards, joint integration boards and local authorities are all possible but will lead eventually to a single accountable body for each area (local authority).
Operational delivery of services will be accountable through public bodies with boards with NEDs including public, patient, staff and Local Authority representatives. Such bodies must be exemplars in terms of ethical behaviour, staff terms conditions and relations, and environmental impact.
Service design will be accountable through coproduction approaches. Service delivery will be through shared decision making (unless clinically inappropriate). Patients and communities will be increasingly involved in their care.
This is a “public” system; or rather a series of public systems. Services will not be delivered through legally binding contracts although SLAs and “NHS” contracts may be part of performance management. No part of the system will be “autonomous”. All parts of the health and social care system will be open and transparent and “commercial confidentiality” will not be recognised in respect of anybody getting public funds.
Entitlement will be National (social care isn’t now); service frameworks will be National; standards (targets) will be National; terms and conditions for staff will be National.
Making the Change
In our view essential structural requirements for change will include:-
- greater levels of sustained revenue funding
- new sources for capital funding
- social care free at point of need, or cost-capped
- new funding allocation models, and fund – pooling permissions
- removal of markets and competition
- reversing previous privatisation (and developing new models for ownership)
- restoring powers to Secretary of State (ending autonomy).
There will be significant ongoing investment in:-
- rebuilding the management skills and expertise to make a publicly managed system effective
- developing the skills and expertise within local councils to take on new planning and oversight roles for the NHS
- having NEDs, staff representatives and other system managers drawn from a more diverse and inclusive background, supported by training, development and peer support
- increasing accountability and participation
- building effective partnership working and workforce planning.
To avoid disruption and opportunity costs the changes necessary must not rely on top down reorganisation, disbanding and then creating hundreds of organisations, or changing local authority boundaries.
Existing organisations should be given some flexibility over form but any new organisation or mergers, acquisitions, takeovers would require Secretary of State approval. Secretary of State powers should be delegated to regional level.
Primary legislation should be used to remove barriers (such as market competition) to more integrated care or to widen opportunities for collaborative approaches (easier pooling of budgets).
The Care Act: ‘I’ statements
What are the ‘I’ statements?
‘I’ statements are an assertion about the feelings, beliefs and values of the person speaking. In the case of ‘Making it Real’, the ‘I’ statements are what older and disabled people, carers and citizens expect to feel and experience when it comes to personalised care and support. They are grouped around six key themes:
1. Information and Advice: having the information I need, when I need it
I have the information and support I need in order to remain as independent as possible
I have access to easy-to-understand information about care and support which is consistent, accurate, accessible and up to date
I can speak to people who know something about care and support and can make things happen.
I have help to make informed choices if I need and want it
I know where to get information about what is going on in my community
2. Active and supportive communities: keeping friends, family and place
I have access to a range of support that helps me to live the life I want and remain a contributing member of my community
I have a network of people who support me carers, family, friends, community and if needed paid support staff.
I have opportunitie to train, study, work or engage in activities that match my interests, skills, abilities
I feel welcomed and included in my local community
I feel valued for the contribution that I can make to my community
3. Flexible integrated care and support: my support, my own way
I am in control of planning my care and support
I have care and support that is directed by me and responsive to my needs
My support is coordinated, co-operative and works well together and I know who to contact to get things change
I have a clear line of communication, action and follow up
4. Workforce: my support staff
I have good information and advice on the range of options for choosing my support staff
I have considerate support delivered by competent people
I have access to a pool of people, advice on how to employ them and the opportunity to get advice from my peers
I am supported by people who help me to make links in my local community
5. Risk enablement: feeling in control and safe
I can plan ahead and keep control in a crisis
I feel safe, I can live the life I want and I am supported to manage any risks
I feel that my community is a safe place to live and local people look out for me and each other
I have systems in place so that I can get help at an early stage to avoid a crisis
6. Personal budgets and self-funding: my money
I can decide the kind of support I need and when, where and how to receive it
I know the amount of money available to me for care and support needs, and I can determine how this is used (whether it’s my own money, direct payment, or a council managed personal budget)
I can get access to the money quickly without having to go through over-complicated procedures
I am able to get skilled advice to plan my care and support, and also be given help to understand costs and make best use of the money involved where I want and need this
A free online ‘risk assessment’ from a leading U.S.-based hospital is helping people around the world take positive steps to reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer, and giving doctors more data on the risk factors associated with the disease.
A Free Five-Minute Questionnaire from the United States’ Cleveland Clinic Analyzes Lifestyle and Family History to Check Whether Risk is Low, Medium or High, and Recommends Next Steps for Prevention
After completing the survey, participants get a score of average, or above average at low, medium or high risk of colorectal cancer based on reported personal and family history of colorectal cancer, polyps or both. They also receive a family tree showing the relatives reported to be affected with colorectal cancer or polyps and a call to action outlining what age to start screening and how frequently it should be done.
“Our hope by providing this online assessment is that individuals could take it, print out the results with the call to action and take it to their physicians to start the colorectal cancer screening conversation,” says Carol A. Burke, MD, a Cleveland Clinic gastroenterologist, and past president of the American College of Gastroenterology.
“In turn, physicians can start the discussion with the patient about the importance of colorectal cancer screening,” adds Dr. Burke.
Dr. Burke and colleagues developed the online survey to provide patients with information about their colorectal cancer risk based upon self-reported personal and family history of colorectal cancer and polyps. The survey generates suggestions for each participant to modify risk factors through screening as well as lifestyle and dietary changes.
In 2017, analysis of more than 27,000 responses from around the world found that individuals who exercised more, followed a healthy diet and did not smoke were less likely to have a personal history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps. The analysis also highlights the modifiable risk factors, such as diet and lifestyle behaviors, reported by patients without a personal history of colorectal cancer and polyps.
The research was presented at Digestive Disease Week 2017. The investigators, Drs. Burke and Dornblaser, also found that less than 10 percent of all respondents stated they ate five or more servings of fruit, vegetables and grains per day, and only about 25 percent undertook at least 30 minutes of exercise four times per week. They additionally found that only 36 percent of respondents were up to date with current colorectal screening, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines.
“Colon cancer is a preventable disease. These results emphasize the known modifiable factors that can alter the risk,” says Dr. Burke. “Colon cancer has had significant decline in the U.S. since 1980 when colorectal cancer screening was first introduced, but these results show screening for the disease – and adherence to a healthy lifestyle – appear woefully underutilized.”
UK BUSINESSES are in danger of having their workforces experience burnout through stress, as despite a huge number feeling stressed at work, few bosses are doing anything to help.
- 45% of UK businesses do nothing to help alleviate workers’ stress
- Despite 25% of workers being less productive when stressed
- Hospitality, leisure and transport bosses least likely to offer ways for staff to manage stress levels
For those British adults in employment, work is by far the most common cause of stress (59%). Yet almost one in two (45%) of British businesses do not offer anything to help alleviate this, according to a study of 3,000 UK workers carried out by 2018 UK Workplace Report.
This is despite the fact that 1 in 4 (25%) struggle to be as productive at work when stressed, and almost the same number find themselves disengaged with work as a result.
Indeed, at least 1 in 10 (10%) of us will call in sick due to stress, while 7% will look for a new job.
Businesses within the hospitality industry are the least likely to provide any kind of guidance or aid to help employees deal with stress, with as many as 64% of workers in this industry claiming that this is the case.
This was closely followed by the leisure sector – where 63% of businesses are guilty of doing nothing to help.
More than 1 in 2 (55%) bosses within transport – where employees experiencing high levels of stress and burn out can be particularly risky – leave employees to manage work stress with no guidance or assistance.
The plumbing and construction (54%), healthcare and education industries (both 45% respectively) completed the list of the top five sectors which are least likely to see employees offered help or assistance with managing levels of work-related stress.
Chieu Cao, CMO & Co-Founder at Perkbox, said: “It’s worrying to see how few businesses seem to be considering stress levels within their workforce their problem. And it is particularly ironic to see that almost 1 in 2 workers within the healthcare industry say their bosses do not do offer anything to help them alleviate stress levels.
Chieu continues: “This can have hugely damaging effects on morale, productivity and sickness absence – all of which ultimately contribute to a company’s overall success – and it is important for bosses to recognise the contribution that work makes to employee stress levels.
“Introducing measures that help to reduce stress or encourage positive coping methods need not be particularly involved or expensive – even free things as simple as introducing flexible working, considering requests to work from home from time to time, or enforcing 1-2-1s with managers, to allow employees to discuss concerns and motivations, can go a long way to help. But ultimately, measures which tackle staff stress head-on work best – including gym membership or exercise classes, discounted or complimentary counselling and mental health services and even spa vouchers.”
To find out more, click here to view or download the 2018 UK Workplace Stress Report.
Which industries are the least likely to offer measures to help staff deal with their stress levels?
- Hospitality – 64%
- Leisure industry – 63%
- Transport – 55%
- Trades (e.g. plumbing, construction) – 54%
- Health and education (joint) – 45%
On 27 February 2018, WeMa Life officially launched its online marketplace and app, which aims to connect care in the community.
For the vast majority of people, there is nothing more important than their health or their loved ones’ wellbeing. However, while so many aspects of our day-to-day lives have benefited from the proliferation of new, easy-to-use and affordable technologies, the world of healthcare has almost been left behind.
Fortunately, the growth of the Global HealthTech Market in recent years has started to change all that. New digital solutions are emerging that make it easier for people to manage or improve their health. And WeMa Life has been created to help drive this movement forward further still.
WeMa Life’s multi-service platform offers benefits to both consumers and businesses. For people seeking health, care and wellbeing services – either for themselves or someone close to them – WeMa Life makes it easy to source, book and pay reputable providers.
Services available through the online marketplace and app include: social care; domiciliary care; nursing; domestic help; personal care and hygiene; massages; yoga and Pilates instructors; nutritionists; physiotherapists; personal trainers; and more. Users can book one-off and on-going sessions, as well as services from multiple providers in one transaction.
From young people wanting regular fitness sessions to people in their 50s responsible for looking after elderly parents, WeMa Life has a broad appeal. It also has significant benefits for individuals needing to arrange care before or after clinical treatment, removing stress and complexity from an already difficult situation.
Meanwhile, the tools available through the online portal and mobile app enable businesses to improve the management and delivery of their services. As well as opening them up to communities of potential customers across the nation, WeMa Life lets health and care providers roster staff, arrange appointments, communicate with customers, accept payments and enhance efficiency.
WeMa Life is a family business; it was founded by myself, the COO, along with my parents Rajal Patni (CFO) and Rohit Patni (CEO). We were inspired to develop a tech-based solution after experiencing first-hand how difficult it is to find and book reputable healthcare providers for an elderly relative.
What’s more, research commissioned by WeMa Life to coincide with its launch, which was carried out independently among more than 2,000 UK adults, showed just how common these experiences are and therefore how great the need is for new digital tools to take the pain out of booking health, care and wellbeing services.
Our study found that 15% of UK adults currently act as informal carers, each spending on average 13 hours a week taking on duties such as cooking, cleaning and caring for someone close to them. More than half (53%) say the role has had a significant emotional impact on them, with 30% falling out with friends or family because of tensions around their responsibilities. Furthermore, 46% find it difficult to source suitable providers and two thirds (66%) want to see an online solution to make it easier to source and book healthcare services.
Empowering individuals to better manage their own is at the heart of WeMa Life’s proposition. But, as stated, the multi-faceted HealthTech solution also stands to improve how healthcare professionals – from individual, self-employed carers through to businesses providing wellbeing services – can connect with new and existing customers.
WeMa Life is constantly seeking new service providers to join its platform – to find out more or to register interest in doing so, click here.
Vivek Patni, COO and co-founder, WeMa Life