You’re in the business of protecting people. We’re in the business of protecting you.
If you operate an independent or NHS ambulance service, you’ll be all too aware of the importance of early intervention. Sometimes, a few minutes can make all the difference between the very best and very worst outcomes for the people you look after. Yet, as important as keeping the general public safe and protected is, protecting yourself, your employees and your business is equally key. The Early Intervention Scheme (EIS) from Miles Smith Insurance Group has been designed to help manage employee absence, allowing you to run your business stress-free, safe in the knowledge that no matter what happens, you are prepared.
The startling statistics
Employee absenteeism is an ever-increasing problem for businesses across the nation. However, the industry with the biggest issue is the one you operate in. According to the Health and Safety Executive, the human health and social work sector has one of the highest rates of stress, depression and anxiety, and one of the highest rates of work-related ill health.
This alone gives cause for concern, but the bigger picture paints an even more worrying state of affairs. It is estimated that the annual cost of work-related injury and ill health costs the UK economy almost £15 billion every year and that 137.3 million working days a year are lost due to sickness or injury in the UK. 84% of those working days lost due to ill health were as a result of stress, depression or anxiety and musculoskeletal disorders. The same conditions that your sector sadly leads the way in. It’s not too much of a jump to realise that employee absenteeism is a very real issue for the wider ambulance sector.
The impact of employee absence
Put simply, it’s far ranging. Let’s start with the direct financial impact it will have on your business. Not only will you incur sick pay, you are very likely to have to fund expensive, short- term cover to ensure you maintain business as usual. But of course, it won’t be business as usual, because in addition to the direct costs, sickness and absence is hugely disruptive to your overall operations and work flow.
There’s the immediate loss of skilled and valued staff; there’s important management time and resource being spent on arranging temporary cover at short notice, which may prove incredibly challenging given the time critical and specialist roles that need back-filling; there’s the additional recruitment and training costs; there’s the increased workload on colleagues, who are quite likely to become demotivated and stressed. It’s the very definition of a vicious circle. And, of course, there’s also the fact that you are open to potential employer’s liability claims from the employees who are absent. There really is an awful lot to consider.
Early Intervention is critical
In many walks of life, you will hear about how early intervention is critical, and it’s the same for employee absenteeism. Unmanaged, short-term sickness of up to four weeks can very easily turn into long-term absence. After just six weeks of sickness absence a person’s ability to return to work falls away rapidly, with almost 20% of people who reach this point permanently remaining off sick and eventually leaving paid employment. And, common sense dictates, even if you do manage to eventually get an employee back to work, the longer they have been absent, the harder it then becomes for them to easily integrate back into the workplace. So, if you’re not in control of the situation it can soon have a far greater impact than just the short-term issues.
However, evidence indicates that early intervention is crucial in breaking this cycle. Surprisingly, the majority of people who leave work through ill health do not do so because of a severe illness. Indeed, most suffer from common health complaints experienced by all of us, such as muscle, joint or back pain, and mild to moderate mental health issues. Yet the issue is that without treatment these conditions often deteriorate until they become so debilitating that an employee simply feels unable to return to work.
EIS meets a very real need
The Early Intervention Scheme from Miles Smith Insurance Group has been designed to provide fast track access to treatment for employees who are absent as a result of physical injury, stress, depression or anxiety, to help promote a speedy recovery and quick return to work. Its key benefits help to:
- Reduce an absence period and overall sickness costs
- Reduce the likelihood of long-term absence
- Reduce the likelihood of an injury recurrence
- Increase the likelihood of a full and healthy recovery
- Prevent psychological issues caused by long-term absence
- Identify suspect absenteeism due to independent assessment
- Make employees feel valued
- Control employer’s liability premiums and exposure to claims
- Establish good process and practice for managing absence
So how does EIS work?
The key features of the EIS policy are designed to make the process easy and, most importantly, cost effective for ambulance service providers. It’s incredibly easy to purchase and only costs £15 per person*, each year, to take out and employees are not precluded from the policy due to pre- existing conditions.
Miles Smith also recognise that absence can be caused by situations outside of the workplace, so the cover is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week and, as such, the absence does not need to have occurred due to a work-related matter.
The policy is underwritten by leading UK insurer Aviva and does not require any GP referral before becoming live. As its name suggests, it’s been designed to be a fast process, so there’s also no need to wait for treatment on the NHS. Access to treatment is available after three consecutive working days of absence or immediately (with no waiting period) after a reported motor accident.
If physiotherapy is required to aid the back-to-work process, this is provided at a local and convenient centre, administered by a UK wide clinically audited network of providers. And advice and preventative exercises are prescribed, helping speed up recovery time and get employees back to work as quickly as possible. If the condition is psychological, therapy is delivered on a one-to-one basis over the telephone. No matter what the condition and the subsequent treatment, a report is always provided to you, the employer, at the end of the treatment.