Manufacturers call on NHS to help cut down on absence

first_img Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. UK manufacturers are doing more than ever to tackle long-term absence in theworkplace, but believe their efforts are being frustrated by a lack of adequatesupport from the NHS, a study has suggested. Research published by IRS Employment Review and the manufacturing body EEFhas found that while long-term absence accounts for just 5.7 per cent ofabsence cases, it represents almost 70 per cent of the total time lost fromwork. The poll of 896 manufacturing workplaces employing 200,000, also found thatmore than 83 per cent of companies said they offered rehabilitation toemployees on long-term sick leave. Almost a third were engaged in programmes to improve their long-term absencemanagement and firms drew support from a mix of in-house (19.2 per cent) andexternal OH services (36 per cent). But companies felt services offered by theNHS and GPs were failing to support their efforts. While GPs helped to manage long-term absence in almost two-thirds (64.9 percent) of sites surveyed, only 9.7 per cent of employers felt they provided themost effective means of support. The NHS’s failure to provide fast access to services such as physiotherapyaffected almost half of the companies surveyed (46.4 per cent), and presentedthe single greatest barrier to successful rehabilitation for 16 per cent of thefirms polled. Only employee resistance to taking up rehabilitation, where it wasappropriate, presented a greater barrier (16.4 per cent). The EEF’s chief medical adviser, Dr Sayeed Khan, said: “There is afundamental problem around the lack of training of GPs in occupational health,and the difficulties they face when balancing their role as the employee’sadvocate and in providing evidence-based medical guidelines. “Greater efforts need to be made to improve relationships andunderstanding between employers, GPs and other health professionals.” Other key findings– A median of 4.56 days per employeewas lost to absence in 2002; 5.7 per cent of absences was long term– Cost was the main driver behind efforts to improve managementof long-term absence in more than a third of companies (39.1 per cent), withrising concern over employee well-being the driver in one in four (21.4 percent)– Four in 10 (40.1 per cent) of managers had experienced morelong-term absence cases because of stress in the past five years. Three in 10cited other mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety as the cause– Employers did not believe line managers took responsibilityfor managing long-term absence, but six in 10 believed site managers were goodat tackling it– Only half (53.1 per cent) had written policies coveringlong-term absence and rehabilitation, but more than eight in 10 (83.4 per cent)employers offered it. Manufacturers call on NHS to help cut down on absenceOn 1 Apr 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more