Occupational health should play a fuller role in helping UK businesses return to pre-recession levels of growth argues AXA PPP. With a focus on increasing the country’s productivity levels, businesses are under more pressure than ever to have an engaged, healthy and happy workforce. Occupational health plays a key role in this process by supporting people to stay in work and return to work more quickly after they have had health problems. The call came from AXA PPP healthcare, speaking on joining the Commercial Occupational Health Providers Association (COHPA).
Dr Steve Iley, AXA PPP healthcare Health Services Medical Director, stated: “Today’s business leaders need empowerment to make critical business decisions around the health of their workforce. When you combine clinical data and opinion, technology, services and expertise, businesses benefit from a modern occupational health service that centres on employee wellbeing. That is what a good occupational health programme should offer and what businesses should be demanding of occupational health services providers at this crucial stage of the UK’s economic growth.”
Yet the reality is that many businesses still see occupational health services as an uncertain investment in terms of improved business performance. At times, occupational health services are delivered in an ad hoc fashion with little or no consideration to the specific needs of individuals or the sectors in which they work. However, the case for investing in occupational health has never been greater. An OECD report from February 2014 found that mental ill-health costs the UK economy £70 billion a year or 4.5 per cent of GDP in lost productivity at work, benefit payments and healthcare expenditure. Figures released by the government in February 2014 revealed that employers face a yearly bill of £9 billion for sick pay and associated costs.
In the global drive for competitiveness and productivity, the onus is on occupational health providers and businesses to work together more actively, ensuring that together, they are working to help people stay in work and live fuller and healthy lives.
Deb King, Association Manager at the Commercial Occupational Health Providers Association (COHPA), added “COHPA is delighted to have AXA PPP healthcare as one of its members. With a new Board and Management team, COHPA is committed to sharing best practice amongst members, networking and promoting the benefits of occupational health and wellbeing services.”
Full press release on www.axa.co.uk