Absence control must be a priority

A well
planned healthcare programme goes beyond the "nice to have" for an
organisation, and has the potential to save more than it costs.


That was
the verdict of John Humphrey, chairman of Marsh Health, who assessed the case
for pursuing employee health as a risk management priority.


ill-health represents probably the most frequent loss within any organisation,
health rarely tops the risk management league table, he said.


organisations, he said, have not introduced even basic health risk control
measures, despite the fact that health risks are highly responsive to
intervention programmes.


is therefore enormous potential for achieving large savings through reasonably
straightforward risk reduction programmes," he said. Adding he suspected
that there was a tendency among many organisations to underestimate the real
cost of sickness absence to the business, but by paying closer attention to
absence figures and establishing absence control as a management priority, the
problems could be reduced.


the most useful tool is the return-to-work interview," he said. "If
every absent employee is interviewed on their return, the message that the
organisation takes the subject seriously will soon become established and
managers will gain vital information about the factors which influence the
health of its employees."


health services can make a difference to health risks and offer a genuine cost
benefit, he added. For example, a health screening programme tailored to
individual’s need, not one that is a perk just for executives.


fact is that executives are already the healthiest employees in most
organisations," he said. "A more basic health screen, probably delivered
on-site and available to all employees can make a powerful impact on the health
of the workforce."

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