Wellbeing initiatives should not be cut, say physiotherapists

In the wake of last month’s Comprehensive Spending Review, public sector employers have been urged to invest in health and well-being as a way to save money in other areas of their businesses.

With the public sector bearing much of the brunt of Chancellor George Osborne’s spending constraints, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has said that public sector employers can save millions of pounds each year through health and wellbeing initiatives for their staff.

Its report, Sickness Costs, argues that organisations that provide workplace benefits such as physiotherapy services make significant savings through higher productivity and fewer absences caused by musculoskeletal disorders.

The research also found that three public sector managers in 10 believed that staff who called in sick with a recurring condition were well enough to work but did not want to.

Nearly four in 10 found such absences irritating because others had to take on additional workload, with 18% calling it a drain on their business that they could not afford.

Research earlier this year by the CSP also showed that more than one-third of workers work all day without a lunch-break and 31% experienced physical pain at work at least once a week.

Phil Gray, chief executive of the CSP, said: “We recognise it is tempting in difficult economic times for employers to cut back on health and wellbeing initiatives such as a physiotherapy service.

“But that is a false economy, because ignoring a recurring condition can potentially lead to lower productivity and high temporary staffing costs.”

The CSP has also produced a leaflet, Fitness Profits, as part of its Fit for Work campaign, which provides advice and information for business of all sizes on how to keep staff healthy and improve productivity.

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