Why preventative healthcare is key to workplace health

Employers say that improved ease of access and increased availability of preventative employee health services is key to improving the health of the UK workforce over the next five years.

prevention better than cure

A survey by AXA PPP healthcare of more than 1,000 purchasing decision makers in 2016, found that nearly half (46%) of employers cited the two measures as being key, whilst 40% of those surveyed said that increased availability of reactive health services would help to improve the health of the UK workforce in the next five years.

Employers are increasingly aware that their staff are facing the strain both emotionally and physically. More than half (51%) of the 1,000 purchasing decision makers surveyed for the study predicted that mental health would be one of the biggest challenges to employee health over the next five years followed by obesity/high body mass index for 44% and high blood pressure for 30%.

Employers are taking responsibility for health

Encouragingly though employers are taking more responsibility for their staff. Three-quarters of those surveyed said that employers should proactively support their employees to manage their health and wellbeing with that being the key reason why companies had a health and wellbeing strategy in place for 77% of those surveyed.

The study suggests that those employers who don’t choose to use a healthcare provider to support their health and wellbeing strategies will struggle, facing a number of challenges to achieving the goals they set out in their strategies. Major challenges cited included lack of employee engagement (40%), an inability to evaluate the impact of the strategy (32%), inadequate budget (26%) and lack of resources (21%). 68% of those surveyed said that they wanted a healthcare services provider with a proven holistic approach to health and wellbeing.

The need to define holistic health and wellbeing strategies

Chris Horlick, distribution director for AXA PPP healthcare, said that while it was encouraging that employers were taking responsibility for employee health and wellbeing at work they could struggle to define what holistic health and wellbeing strategies should look like. “This can mean that in practice they fail to include measurable objectives, thereby preventing meaningful evaluation of their impact,” he said.

“There is growing acknowledgment by employers and policymakers of the importance of preventive health services within a holistic approach to employee health and wellbeing. This includes helping employees maintain good health as well as supporting their care and treatment if they become unwell. We expect this trend to continue. Businesses want more than workplace health gimmicks. They need programmes that offer sustainability from providers who can work in partnership with them,” he said.

This article was provided by AXA PPP healthcare 

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