A life-line online | Why virtual GPs could be the support your people need

With 64% of employees reporting a significant increase in anxiety and depression as a result of the pandemic, it’s no secret that your people could be experiencing mental health challenges. But what about their physical health and wellbeing?

For many employers, after the initial flurry of getting office-based employees set up remotely in March 2020, occupational health, physical wellbeing and other routine health illnesses or injuries have dropped by the wayside.

Refocussing on physical health and why it is crucial for your people

Over the last year, it’s reported that almost a third of all employees rated their physical health as poor or worse.1 Whether it’s a cold or flu that just won’t go away, chronic back pain or other musculoskeletal issues, or something even more serious, many individuals have disregarded or ignored their physical heath during the pandemic.

Physical health issues can also begin to impact mental health, and vice versa. Research collated by The Kings Fund has shown that there is substantial evidence proving the direct link between physical and mental health and wellbeing, including mental health issues manifesting themselves in the physical form.

The ongoing impact of the public healthcare crisis

The complexity of the issue doesn’t stop there. Due to the ongoing and intense pressure on the public health system, individuals who decide to seek help through their GP are not always getting the medical support that’s needed, or as quickly as they need it.

According to a new report by independent thinktank Reform and analytics and insights firm Edge Health, waiting lists could hit up to 10 million by Spring as non-COVID referrals begin to restart while infection prevention measures continue to limit NHS capacity. The report – ‘What’s next for the NHS? Building the resilience of the health and care system’ – estimates that one in every six people in England could be on an NHS waiting list.3

Not only that, when it comes to physical appointments, individuals have reported suffering from increased worry and anxiety if they cannot be seen by a medical professional, and three quarters of employees stated that their productivity is impacted while waiting for health appointments.

Providing physical wellbeing support for employees

So what can be done to help?

Some organisations are putting health and access to treatment as a key pillar on their agenda in today’s turbulent covid healthcare landscape. What might come as a surprise however is that it doesn’t take big budgets to do so.

Health and wellbeing solutions are no longer reserved for huge organisations, nor are they reserved for the C-suite or senior management. Technology has truly revolutionised access to modern healthcare – through remote consultations and digital GPs it can provide support for physical health issues virtually for entire workforces and help employers tackle big pain points like absenteeism and presenteeism.*

With everything available on mobile devices today, whether it’s online shopping, working, or even unwinding after a long day, the healthcare industry has created support services that reflect today’s ‘always on’ culture and approach to using technology in our day to day life.

Providing fast and convenient GP appointments and healthcare services support not only your people, but the overall health and wellbeing of your business. Organisations like Doctor Care Anywhere not only provide a virtual GP service, they also provide mental health services in an integrated fashion to improve the health outcomes for members.

Combined with an integrated wellbeing, engagement and benefits approach across your business, virtual healthcare services at the touch of a button can help to increase performance and get your employees back to work quicker, happier and healthier.

Whether your workforce is made of three or three hundred, we can help you find the right physical wellbeing and healthcare support for your people. Contact dan.cockram@partnersand.com to discuss your employee health and wellbeing programme or visit https://www.partnersand.com/businesses/wellbeing-engagement-benefits/.

  1. https://www.westfieldhealth.com/
  2. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/physical-and-mental-health
  3. What’s next for the NHS? Building the resilience of the health and care system
  4. http://hrnews.co.uk/over-200-million-working-hours-a-year-lost-to-healthcare-appointments/

*Whilst it’s important to note that online services such as this are not an emergency service, the GPs supporting them – many of whom are also working to support the NHS – are able to provide sound advice to help alleviate concerns and anxiety about an individual’s healthcare, or if needed make the right referrals more speedily to escalate an issue.