Off the back of two years disruption, health services continue to cause concern and anxiety for those who are affected by ill health either themselves or within their families.
Staffed by registered nurses who build up close relationships with the employees they support, RedArc has a unique insight into their most pressing concerns relating to their health, and our findings on what most concerns employees is enlightening.
Absence due to continuing high Covid levels as well as other illness continues to affect many industries and the health services are no exception.
Employers would be wise to be aware of the concerns of their employees and consider how they can support those affected.
Most pressing concerns
The findings below are the areas that employees have told us most concern them.
- GP appointments – despite the fact that more NHS GPs are offering telephone and online consultations, even getting these appointments continue to be difficult.
- Face to face appointments – in person appointments continue to be difficult to get at all or subject to a long waiting list. Whilst most people are much more willing to have routine appointments online, where sensitive subjects or serious concerns are under discussion, employees are still looking to have face-to-face appointments with a medical practitioner.
- Last minute cancellations – unfortunately appointments, treatment and surgery are often cancelled or deferred at short notice. This is very frustrating for employees who are in pain and debilitated and we hear first-hand about their increasing anxiety and concerns about deterioration of their condition.
- Lack of equipment – increasingly we are hearing of employees having difficulty obtaining medical equipment or aids. Our experienced nurses are often able to guide employees in the best way to get the equipment they need.
- Lack of end of life care facilities – palliative care and hospice beds are also in short supply. This is an extremely distressing situation for employees with family members who need this form of care at the end of their lives.
- Covid – concern continues about the high level of cases, particularly amongst those with vulnerabilities themselves or family members. With the removal of testing requirements, many employees continue to be very anxious about social and busy workplace environments.
- Impersonal services – when individuals are very unwell, they often feel the need to have a conversation with another person outside of the family and friendship network. More and more, we are hearing that employees are disappointed that this is not possible and feel let down when offered leaflets or apps as an alternative.
Coupled with other current significant factors such as the war in Ukraine, unsettled political situation and the cost of living crisis, it is not surprising that so many employees are living with significant concerns.
A wide range of support services are now available to employers, either directly or via Group Insurance. When considering such services, employers need to think about the range and scope of services offered ensuring that there is something available for those with short-term and long-term needs.
For instance a GP service would be very beneficial to an employee who has a concern about a child with a high temperature but for an employee who is struggling with the long-term effects of a stroke or has concerns about end of life care for a parent will be less well served.
Many organisations have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) giving in the moment support and a course of structured therapy. Employers should investigate their limitations as some exclude more complex and long-term conditions, resulting in those who need the most help being turned away.
Support services offering long-term nurse advice together with a range of face-to-face interventions including second opinions, private consultations, therapies and equipment address the other end of the spectrum.
In today’s competitive market for talent, employers need more than ever to ensure that they can appropriately support all of their employees with their diverse and varied health concerns.
Appreciation of employees’ concerns and flexibility can go a long way, and it’s what employers do with this knowledge that’s important – good quality external, professional and independent support can help employees to move forward.
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