‘The annual economic cost of absence due to sickness in the UK is greater than the entire NHS budget and equivalent to the gross domestic product of Portugal.’
Managing sickness absence
Keeping employees at work is core to our business.
Early intervention is key to absence management, particularly in the management of musculo-skeletal and mental health conditions.
It is important that these two conditions (which lead to the highest levels of sickness in the public sector) are seen early so that treatment can be accessed as soon as possible
We see employees rapidly, providing management with same-day reports. We stay in direct contact with managers by telephone and arrange case conferences for complex and sensitive cases.
We continue to provide advice until cases are resolved, giving managers the specific information they need to manage absence and performance.
Our team always includes specialists in mental health and musculoskeletal conditions. As well as providing best care for employees, this ensures we deliver authoritative advice to management.
Where employees are not fit for all of their duties full time, we always advise on workplace adjustments, particularly under the Disability Discrimination Act (2005).
In most management policies, trigger points for referral to occupational health services are given as 28 days. We encourage managers to make referrals after five days’ absence if the individual has not yet returned to work.
This applies the principle that 98% of absentees return to work within 5 days. Our philosophy therefore is to ensure these 2% of cases do not become long-term health problems.
Short-term sickness absence
In many cases recurrent short-term sickness absence is not a health issue. Where significant underlying health problems are identified we work with employees and managers to implement practical adjustments. Where no ongoing health problems are found we provide clear reports allowing managers to handle attendance decisively.
Working with GPs to manage sickness absence
Most GPs are only too happy to let us make decisions on fitness and workplace adjustments. This often prevents conflicts of opinion.
Our decisive approach and extensive experience enable us to turn even difficult cases around – giving organisations definitive, pragmatic advice on absence management. We help employees with real health problems to access support services rapidly while challenging inappropriate illness behaviour.