ill at work

The Effect of Ill Staff on UK Businesses

Founder and CEO of Now Healthcare Group, Lee Dentith, discusses new research focusing on the effect of staff sickness on UK businesses.

Since founding Now Healthcare Group back in 2014, one of our main areas of focus has been on how digital health services can be utilised to have a positive impact on the ongoing problem of staff sickness and employee absence here in the United Kingdom.

The latest research from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (BHW) has found that UK employers are losing a staggering 27.5 days of productive work per employee every year as a result of ill health. If you were to put a figure on the monetary value of this loss, you’d find that staff absence and the problem of presenteeism costs the UK economy a huge £73 billion per year.

The figures suggest that a significant number of UK employees suffer from “risk factors” in terms of their general health – these risk factors could be anything from a poor diet or a sedentary lifestyle to ongoing medical issues such as high blood pressure. 68% of respondents had at least two risk factors, while a third were suffering from three or more risk factors.

I have long since championed the importance of providing a more convenient method of accessing primary healthcare for everyone, particularly those in full-time employment. While the fact that a large number of employees carry these health “risk factors” is a undoubtedly huge concern, I’m equally alarmed by the poor access to primary healthcare that those in traditional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday roles have to endure – 10 million struggle to see a GP because of inconvenient opening times –  as well as the continued problem of presenteeism.

People simply cannot afford to take several days off work when unwell, and with more and more NHS patients facing a wait of over two weeks to see their local GP it’s no surprise that 68% of employees still go to work even when they are unwell. This results in sickness spreading around the office, and it’s completely unnecessary.

Our services are providing an effective solution for a problem which is continuing to cost the UK billions of pounds every year. We’re offering more convenient access for employees, with appointments and advice available when they need them and the option of having medicines delivered directly to their home or office.

These virtual GP services, combined with our medicine adherence, AI offering and repeat prescription system, will be able to transform the way that people – employees in particular – access primary healthcare. We want to ensure that those that do carry these “risk factors” are able to get the care and attention that they need, and do our part to significantly reduce the avoidable costs of staff sickness absence in the UK.


For more of my thoughts, follow me on Twitter @LeeDentithDrNow.