Research published today by employee benefits provider Unum finds UK businesses are being massively affected by their workers either missing, or waiting for, medical appointments.
The research found 77% of fulltime workers said their productivity was impacted while having symptoms and waiting for an appointment - which Unum say could present a huge cost to businesses.
With the majority of respondents (60%) 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. Two-thirds (62%) of workers that missed an appointment said their health deteriorated as a result.
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."
Unum UK chief executive, Peter O'Donnell, commented: "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 [email protected] app last year giving insured employees and their eligible family members easy access to remote GPs, second opinions, 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 [email protected] services. Examples of conditions that people are using [email protected]'s Remote GP service for include skin complaints, joint and muscular problems, children's health and stress or anxiety.