It’s likely you will have heard about the 10-year NHS plan in this week’s news. A plan that refocuses budgets and resources onto prevention and early detection. Health services like GPs, mental health and community care will receive funding increases, taking the focus, and in theory some pressure, off hospitals.
Last year, Public Health England’s CEO, Duncan Selbie said: “The NHS 10-year plan is a huge opportunity, but it will be judged by how it prioritises prevention. We must of course treat illness but even smarter would be to prevent it. With 40% of all poor health being preventable and 60% of 60 year olds experiencing at least one long term condition this has to be a no brainer.”
We strongly believe in the power of preventative healthcare - it’s the foundation of what we do, and prevention is always better than cure. With that in mind, here are three areas you should think about, to help you embed a preventative approach to health in your organisation.
1. Health and wellbeing strategy
The CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work 2018 report revealed that two fifths of organisations have a standalone wellbeing strategy in support of their wider organisation strategy1. The report also shows us that businesses that had health and wellbeing activities in place, found that it resulted in improved employee morale and engagement (44%), lower sickness absence (31%) and a healthier and more inclusive culture (35%)1.
This link between wellbeing and overall strategy, not only offers a number of benefits for the business, but also allows wellbeing to be integrated as a core value. It becomes a living, breathing part of an organisation’s culture. And if your culture values and promotes wellbeing, employees will naturally be more conscious of their health and more inclined to look after it.
2. Manager training
Often, the first person to notice when someone is unwell, is their manager. As the ‘front line’, it’s vital for managers to be on board with your strategy. Just under half of respondents in the CIPD report agree that their line managers are bought in to the importance of wellbeing1, so perhaps there is more that businesses can do to help managers understand the value of preventative healthcare.
As well as this, managers will need to be aware of what health initiatives are available within the business – things like health cash plans, health screening programmes, free eye tests or subsidised gym memberships. If they are, they’ll be best placed to encourage their teams to make use of them, so employees can stay healthy.
3. Continuous communication
Over half of organisations (56%) communicate with their staff about benefits on less than a quarterly basis2. But it’s essential to keep the conversation going throughout the year, so employees understand why looking after their health is important, and how you can help them do it.
By educating employees about this importance, they will be more likely to take responsibility for their own health. Share ideas, tips and support to inspire employees to be active in taking care of themselves, preventing ill health.
With these three elements in place, your business will be better placed to take a preventative approach to health. After all, it makes good business sense to give your employees the tools they need to look after themselves. Your people are your greatest asset, and if they are in good health, your business will be too.
1. CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work 2018 report
2. Simplyhealth Health and Wellbeing Benefits Guide 2017