AVIVA’s response to the ‘Improving Lives’ green paper
In an article first published in Health Insurance Daily magazine the managing director of AVIVA UK Health’s group protection, Steve Bridger, outlines 11 recommendations in response to the Government’s green paper on workplace health.
“I have been waiting a long time for the ‘Improving Lives’ green paper which the Government recently released.
The Government’s objective is to halve the disability employment gap and it has recognised that the workplace is the perfect place to promote healthier lives. However, that recognition is against a backdrop of deteriorating health outcomes in the UK.
There is an increasing trend for the working age UK population to develop a disability. Eighty three per cent of all people develop their disability in work and there are 400,000 more working age disabled people since 2013 alone. Forty-eight per cent of all disabled people are unemployed and those absent from work for six months or more have only a 20% chance of returning to work in the next five years. This indicates the incredible importance of the employer retaining people that develop a disability in their workforce and the importance of early intervention to meet that objective.
We know how effective the early intervention and rehabilitation services provided under group income protection are to retaining employees in employment. Early intervention is particularly successful in retention of those individuals with mental health issues which is important given that over half of all Employer Support Allowance claimants have a mental health illness as their primary condition.
That’s why I was so pleased to see the green paper get launched. There are health issues this country is facing that the workplace could help to remedy, but Government intervention is required.
In our response to the consultation paper, we decided to make it clear exactly what we believe needs to be put in place to make the necessary improvements. Our 11 recommendations cover three specific areas:
Measures to promote the role of employers in disability diversity and retention
Measures to promote the role insurers play in retention
Measures to promote wider shift in societal attitudes
That’s our cards on the table. Those are the 11 steps we believe are necessary to make big improvements in the way health and disability are handled in the workplace.
The fact that we are only at the green paper stage shows we have a long way to go. But as long as there is the will from government, employers, the insurance industry and other interested parties, we could start to make a real difference.”
Steve Bridger is managing director of group protection at AVIVA UK Health
You can read the original article in HI Daily here.
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