Letter: outsourcing

I was interested to read your report (Occupational Health Extra, January 2005) based on the new Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) guide Recovery, Rehabilitation and Retention: maintaining a productive workforce.

Having read the 30-page guide in detail, I would be among the first to applaud its content.

However, as the UK’s leading disability insurer, we would take issue with one point – unfortunately, the angle your story highlighted – which is that outsourcing long-term sickness absence management and payments can lead to sick employees simply being forgotten about.

This is simply not the experience of the insurance industry or UnumProvident.

The whole question of what leads to long-term absence is complex, and it is often interventions, which take place at the start of an illness, that determine the final outcome.

The CIPD guide effectively highlights the steps employers need to take to manage and rehabilitate people with health problems, and insurers are a valuable source of expertise and help in this very difficult area.

Professor Michael O’Donnell

Chief medical officer and head of medical services at UnumProvident

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