Category Archives: Health

Exclusive research – Workplace Flu Vaccination could save companies £87 per employee annually

Doctorcall, the longest-standing provider of private flu vaccinations in the UK, has released exclusive research outlining potential savings for companies through workplace vaccination programmes. Research indicates that providing flu vaccinations in the workplace can save companies £87 per employee each year, more than offsetting the cost of the vaccination.

Additional benefits include reduced absenteeism and increased employee satisfaction.

Flu Vaccination Savings Calculation:

According to statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average worker loses 5.7 workdays per year due to illness. Minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, flu, and gastrointestinal issues account for 29.3% of these lost days, equating to 1.67 days lost per year per employee. With flu responsible for roughly 20% of minor illness cases, this results in approximately 0.33 days lost per worker annually due to flu.

The average cost of a day of absence in the private sector is £522. Therefore, the cost of flu-related absenteeism is estimated at £174 per employee per year. Considering the flu vaccine’s effectiveness, which ranges from 40-60%, a 50% effectiveness rate translates to an average saving of £87 per employee annually through workplace flu vaccination.

Pneumonia:

Pneumonia cases, which often begin with flu, result in an average of 14 days of sick leave per occurrence, costing businesses £7,308 per case. Pneumonia not only causes significant absenteeism but also poses severe health risks with a high mortality rate.

Offering flu vaccinations to key workers can also mitigate this risk, as influenza can often lead to pneumonia. COVID vaccinations are also offered by Doctorcall, who delivered the first private COVID corporate vaccine clinic in the UK.

Benefits of Workplace Vaccination

·  Reduced Absenteeism: Decreasing the number of sick days taken due to flu and pneumonia, particularly unplanned absenteeism which is extremely disruptive

·  Cost Savings: Significant savings on the costs associated with employee sick leave.

·  Employee Satisfaction: Employees appreciate the convenience and health benefits of receiving vaccinations at work, enhancing overall workplace morale and productivity.

“Implementing a workplace vaccination program is a cost-effective strategy that benefits both employers and employees,” said Dr Charles Levinson, Doctorcall Medical Director “Our goal is to help companies maintain a healthy workforce while simultaneously reducing the heavy financial impact of illness-related unplanned absenteeism.”

“These findings demonstrate the high value provided by a workplace flu vaccination programme – more and more companies are using our service, and these findings show that they are making a sound investment which benefits both the company, and the employee.”

https://doctorcall.co.uk/archives/news/workplace-flu-vaccination-could-save-companies-87-per-employee-annually

 

Bupa Foundation launches Healthy Cities campaign to boost urban access to green spaces and promote health in the UK

Schools, charities and community groups invited to apply for green grants during June

Today, Bupa Foundation has announced the launch of its 2024 Healthy Cities campaign, which encourages people to adopt healthy, long-term habits in their daily lives while preserving and regenerating green spaces.

During June, Bupa’s employees, partners, and customers will participate in a 30-day walking challenge to promote the benefits of being outdoors in nature and fundraise for green initiatives. The collective effort will unlock up to £750,000 from the Bupa Foundation to support local green projects across the UK.

Bupa is encouraging schools and charities to apply for this funding through its Green Community Grants scheme. Applications for up to £2000 to fund green projects are open and can be made throughout June at bupafoundation.org/green-community-grants.

Healthy Cities runs across 24 countries and is part of Bupa’s commitment to supporting one million people in improving their health each year by 2025 through environmental restoration and regeneration.

Last year, Bupa Foundation supported over 230 projects across the UK, directly benefiting more than 142,000 people. Schools, community groups and charities received funding for outdoor classrooms, sensory gardens, food banks, allotments, playgrounds and other green space improvements. Globally, the challenge involved 80,000 participants from 24 countries, resulting in a £2 million investment in projects such as forest creation, school green grants, coastal clean-ups, and ecosystem restoration.

One of last year’s grant recipients, Stephens and George Centenary Charitable Trust, shared, “The funding from Bupa’s Green Community Grant has transformed our space from a mere patch of grey and concrete land into a vibrant area of community activity, where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to connect, learn, and grow. Its positive impact resonates not only in the physical transformation of the space but also in the smiles, laughter, and sense of belonging it brings to those who use it.”

Anna Russell, Director of the Bupa Foundation, added: “Our Healthy Cities challenge focuses on encouraging people to adopt long-term healthy habits that contribute to our own individual health while preserving and regenerating our green spaces around us. 

“We are pleased to offer even more grants to organisations across the UK in 2024 to help improve their outdoor spaces and benefit the community. I strongly encourage local groups to apply for this funding, as it’s a good opportunity to make a meaningful impact on both people and planet health.” 

Additionally, Bupa and the Bupa Foundation will support the ‘We Invented the Weekend’ free festival in Salford on 15 and 16 June. At the festival, Bupa will host a ‘We Get Healthy’ stand, featuring Bupa clinicians and activities such as organised runs, dance-a-thons, and a family-friendly mini-marathon. Everyone’s efforts will unlock additional funding for local green causes, furthering the mission to make cities healthier.

For more information about the Healthy Cities campaign and how to apply for the Green Community Grants, visit bupafoundation.org/green-community-grants.

Amethyst Radiotherapy achieves high-rise Gamma Knife source loader crane installation feat at Queen Square Centre, Central London

Amethyst Radiotherapy a leader in cutting-edge cancer treatment, specifically Stereotactic Radiosurgery, is proud to announce the successful upgrade of its Gamma Knife machine at its prestigious Queen Square centre in central London.

Specialised cranage equipment was used, lifting over 15 tonnes of equipment between the two high-rise buildings located in Central London. The Source Loader weighed approximately nine tonnes, with the radiation vault at roughly five tonnes – a variety of other equipment also required specialist transportation.

The Gamma Knife source loader is a sophisticated device used to precisely position radioactive sources, specifically cobalt-60, within the Gamma Knife machine.

This technology is critical for targeting and treating brain tumours with high doses of radiation, whilst minimising exposure to surrounding healthy tissues. The precision of the source loader is vital for the effectiveness and safety of Gamma Knife radiotherapy, offering non-invasive treatment options for patients with various neurological conditions and metastatic brain tumours.

Issues were faced – including an unrelated protest march which prevented the access and delivery of equipment, vehicles not following the temporary parking restrictions and more.

The complicated installation process underscores the intricate logistics undertaken by the Amethyst team to ensure a safe and efficient installation, reducing disruption to the surrounding area, whilst continuing to strive to deliver world class treatment.

Following the successful installation, the equipment will soon be resuming treatment of NHS and private patients.

 

Daniel LumleyDirector of Clinical Operations, Amethyst UK commented:

“The logistical challenges of transporting and installing the source loader and radiation vault were formidable, particularly given the dense urban environment of central London.”

”The use of a crane was essential for positioning these heavy and sensitive components with precision. Our team’s expertise in navigating these complexities was critical to the successful upgrade of our facilities – I’d like to thank all involved, from within Amethyst and the outside contractors who contributed to the project’s success.”

Mr Neil Kitchen, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Medical Director for the Queen Square Gamma Knife Unit commented:

“The reloading of our state of the art gamma knife treatment platform with brand new cobalt radiation sources will halve treatment times for our patients making their therapy less onerous and allowing us to treat many more patients efficiently thus reducing waiting times. As Clinical Director, on behalf of the clinical team, I would like to thank Amethyst UK and UCLH for completing this complicated task.”

 

Howden calls on employers to prioritise women’s health and wellbeing ahead of new legislation.

On International Women’s Day March 8th, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing (Howden) is issuing a call to action for employers to address women’s health and wellbeing in anticipation of forthcoming family-focused legislation being introduced in April.

Since its inception in 1911, International Women’s Day has marked progress towards gender equality. However, disparities persist in workplaces and Howden highlights employers can play a key role in building inclusivity, by supporting women’s health and wellbeing.

Recent research shows there are key issues to address. The World Health Organization and McKinsey recently published a report which highlighted that despite living longer, women spend 25% more of their lives in poor health. It also found that addressing the women’s health gap could potentially boost the global economy by more than $1 trillion annually by 2040[i].

Historically, women’s health concerns, including periods, fertility, and menopause, have often been marginalised or addressed superficially in the wake of media attention.

However, with impending family-focused legislation like the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 and the Carer’s Leave Act 2023, alongside recent guidelines from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on menopause[ii], there is an opportunity for employers to take proactive measures to address women’s health, such as developing a comprehensive employee benefits and wellbeing strategy that caters to the diverse needs of women of all ages.

 

Emma Capper, UK Wellbeing Leader at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing says, “Building a supportive and inclusive culture with access to essential healthcare can empower women to lead healthier, happier lives and make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.  This can improve their motivation and performance, help companies attract talent, and reduce rates of absence.”

“However, companies need to steer clear from ‘tick box exercises’ such as introducing menopause support simply because it is topical. Instead, we encourage them to actively listen to their female employees, gather their feedback so they understand their concerns and needs and not presume to understand the challenges they face. Then they can implement the most appropriate female-friendly benefits on issues including periods to menopause, through to female cancers and mental health support.”

She adds: “The new legislations are designed to be more inclusive for women, offering increased protection from redundancy for pregnant women; and giving a new entitlement of one week of unpaid leave annually for employees who care for dependants with long term needs, which is a burden that often falls to women. The EHRC guidelines also clarified the legal obligations to workers going through menopause and that employers could face being sued under the Equality Act 2010 if they don’t make reasonable adjustments for women with menopause symptoms.

“Taking a tailored approach to benefits, based on the needs of female employees is vital and an important step in ensuring that women’s health and wellbeing issues are prioritised particularly as forthcoming legislation will see workplaces become more equitable.’’

Emma recommends four steps businesses can take to promote female health and wellbeing:

  • Raise awareness about the importance of regular health check-ups, and preventive measures for women of all ages.
  • Create a culture of wellbeing. Provide resources and information on maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health. Use a wellbeing calendar to tie activity in with national awareness days.
  • Review HR policies and employee benefits to identify gaps in gender specific healthcare provisions. Consider benefits specifically designed to support the needs of women in the workplace, such as menopause support.
  • Communication is key. Signpost the employee benefits and wellbeing services available to employees, so that they know what support is in place and how to access it.

To mark International Women’s Day Howden has also created an essential guide to supporting women’s health which can be downloaded here.

For more information, please visit www.howdengroup.co.uk

[i] https://www.weforum.org/publications/closing-the-women-s-health-gap-a-1-trillion-opportunity-to-improve-lives-and-economies/

[ii] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-68366519

Genesis Biosciences joins consortium to tackle antimicrobial resistance

Genesis Biosciences has joined the COMBAT AMR consortium which aims to understand and control the emergence and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance in complex drain biofilms.

Under the leadership of Professor Jean-Yves Maillard of Cardiff University, Genesis Biosciences will collaborate with the university and other European educational institutions on the research project.

Antimicrobial resistance is a significant global challenge and is listed on the UK government’s National Risk Register as a chronic risk that poses continuous challenges. The government’s vision is for antimicrobial resistance to be contained and controlled by 2040 and it is publishing five-year national action plans to achieve this.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when organisms that cause disease evolve and are no longer affected by antimicrobials including antibiotics, antifungal and antiviral medicines. It is a natural phenomenon but is rapidly accelerating due to factors including misuse or overuse of antimicrobials in humans and animals, environmental contamination and poor infection control practices.

Biofilms, communities of microorganisms living on surfaces, are the most common mode of bacterial growth and harbour pathogens, particularly antimicrobial and multidrug resistant pathogens. Due to their ubiquitous nature, biofilms are recognised as a major cause of antimicrobial resistance.

The COMBAT AMR consortium is studying drain biofilms from farms, healthcare settings and homes to understand the complexity of biofilms in different environments and the persistence of antimicrobial genes and multidrug resistant organisms within those biofilms.

The consortium is using a new multi-species biofilm model based on research by Dr Kate Ledwoch, Laboratory Manager at Genesis Biosciences, and fellow scientists which was published in the Journal of Hospital Infection in 2020.

The innovative model will be used during the project to measure the efficacy of several interventions to control the biofilms, explore the phenotypic characterisations of the key pathogens and establish an impact intervention to control antimicrobial resistant organisms on their resistance genes within the biofilms.

Dr Emma Saunders, General Manager at Genesis Biosciences, said: “Antimicrobial resistance is a threat to both human and animal health, impacting the ability to treat infections and ensure food security. As biofilms act as a reservoir for harmful, resistant pathogens, it is important to improve our understanding of antimicrobial genes and the impact of disinfection on complex biofilms.

“We are looking forward to working with Cardiff University and the other members of the consortium to help tackle this global challenge.”

The Special Christmas Toy Aiming To Help Those Struggling This Festive Season

IT’s the most magical time of the year – and the season most children look forward to more than most.

But for some children and teenagers and their loved ones , Christmas can also present huge challenges.

A report by The Children’s Society estimates half a million children are worried about their feelings: but they’re not asking anyone for help.

Mental health expert and author Lynn Crilly says these “disturbing” findings underline the importance of early intervention – and in securing help before things reach crisis point.

And Lynn, who has supported her own daughter Samantha through an eating disorder, OCD and mental ill health, says Christmas can be a bittersweet time for many young people and their families.

She said: “The reality is that some children will find Christmas a struggle and for those who might be experiencing mental ill health or an eating disorder, it can be a real challenge. What makes it harder is that many services which offer support aren’t as readily available as they are at other times of the year. Schools and clubs close as well, which for some young people can be a really important support network.”

Lynn’s own concerns about the struggles some children are facing has inspired her to develop and release a new teddy bear called the TroubleMuncher – that helps young people “cuddle” their fears away.

Through play writing or verbal communicationLynn and Samantha, who helped design the toy, appeared on TV earlier this year to talk about the benefits the toy can bring.

The toy comes with a notepad, and kids who own one are encouraged to write down what’s troubling them then pop the note into a rucksack on the bear’s back.

The bear is also linked to a free to download app, which lets the child communicate directly with the TroubleMuncher bear.

In the app an animated version of the bear listens to the problem and then munches their troubles away.Lynn said: “It encourages children to express their feelings and to communicate because a lot of them now are becoming quite introverted and losing the confidence in physically socialising and feel that they can’t share their troubles.”

Daughter Samantha added: “Many children don’t find it easy to say how they feel so they’ll put the thought in there. Then when they leave for school, the thought will be there for their parents to come and look at and it can help to be the first step towards them getting support.

Samantha has also penned a poem to explain how the bear can help. It reads: “When your head is overflowing, with all the thoughts and worrying, the Trouble Muncher will be there, for you to write down and share, as it munches them away, allowing you to have a clearer brighter day.”

To learn more, please visit: www.lynncrilly.com 

AI innovations set to revolutionise the NHS.

Answer Digital picked up the Artificial Intelligence Project of the Year award for its pioneering work in advancing AI, accelerating the diagnosis of cancer, stroke and other health conditions in the NHS, at the prestigious UK IT Industry Awards 2023.

The Leeds-based consultancy is working with The London Medical Imaging and AI Centre for Value-Based Healthcare, a consortium of 10 NHS Trusts, to deploy a multi-modal AI platform that supports clinicians with faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatments, personalised therapies, and effective screening across various conditions and procedures.

‘AIDE’, the AI Deployment Engine, is a unique platform designed to implement AI at scale within the NHS. As an intelligent multi-modal platform, it increases the potential benefit of AI by creating a single interface for the deployment of many different AI tools, directly to NHS frontline services.

FLIP enables data from multiple NHS trusts to be used to train new AI models for future clinical use using privacy-preserving Federated Learning technology so that the patient data never needs to be pooled or shared outside of the originating NHS trust.

Based on the ongoing success at Kings College Hospital, AIDE has subsequently been rolled out in six NHS Trusts, proving itself as an effective channel for widespread AI deployment across the NHS to benefit patients.

The work is paving the way for AI-enabled hospitals and the future of patient care. Federated learning is being employed to address the long-standing issues surrounding privacy, security and anonymity when collating the large volumes of sensitive patient data traditionally required to teach machines.

Sophisticated AI algorithms from NHS medical images and patient data provide tools for clinicians to speed up and improve diagnosis and care across several patient pathways, including strokes, dementia, heart failure and cancer.

The platform receives a live stream of medical imaging data, allowing clinicians to access near real-time AI analysis within seconds. Once an AI has analysed the clinical data, the results are sent to the electronic patient record to support clinical decision-making.

In developing the award-winning solutions, Answer leveraged its cloud capabilities and understanding of NHS Trust landscapes to create a hybrid cloud/on-premise architecture that delivers value for money, innovation and rapid delivery.

Richard Pugmire, director at Answer Digital, commented: “The award is fantastic recognition for the hard work of the Answer team. We have developed a very close partnership with the NHS on what has become a nationally significant innovation that advances personalised and digitally-enabled healthcare provision across the whole service.”

“The AI programme allows Answer to bring the best technical, clinical and academic minds together to deliver a solution, capable of changing the way healthcare is provided for many years to come. Given the expertise of the partners involved and the nature of AI as a tool, the whole project has the capacity to be truly transformative for the NHS.”

Held in Battersea, London, the UK IT Industry Awards 2023, brings together industry leaders and innovators to celebrate the top achievements in the tech world over the last 12 months. The annual event emphasises acknowledging brilliance and innovation with more than thirty awards distributed, highlighting exceptional projects, companies and individuals shaping the tech landscape.

The Impact of Stressful Jobs on Addiction Susceptibility

Workplace stress is a common experience for many employees, but some industries are notorious for their high-stress environments. Unfortunately, many individuals turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. This issue is especially prevalent in industries where stress levels are particularly high, and addiction can even spill over into the workplace.

One industry that has seen a significant rise in substance abuse is hospitality. Unfortunately, the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation, with understaffing leading to overworked employees turning to amphetamines and other substances to stay alert. The prevalence of alcohol in this industry only adds to the problem, with free drinks often available post-shift.

Healthcare workers are another group that has been hit hard by addiction. Despite being responsible for the well-being of others, as many as 14% of healthcare workers suffer from substance abuse disorders. Long hours, high stress, and a lack of appreciation are all factors that contribute to this issue, with opioids being the most commonly abused substance.

White collar professions, particularly those in high-powered roles or working in cities, are also at risk for drug abuse. Cocaine has become a major problem in cities like London, and the pressure and stress of these roles is a significant contributor. Some businesses are now introducing drug testing and support programs to help combat this problem.

It’s clear that addiction is a serious issue in many industries today, and drug addiction rehab treatment is essential for those struggling with substance abuse. By acknowledging the problem and offering support, we can work towards creating healthier work environments for all employees.

 

Howden appoints Mike Dalby as Managing Director to drive business growth and service delivery in the UK Consumer Health & Protection market

Howden, the global insurance group, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mike Dalby as Managing Director of its UK Consumer Health & Life Business.

In his new role, Mike will drive business growth and help Howden meet increased demand for individual health and protection solutions, including Private Medical Insurance (PMI) and Life Insurance. In addition, Mike will oversee the integration of the Consumer businesses acquired from A-plan and Aston Lark, which will result in a dedicated team of over 250 employees available to provide specialist advice to consumers.

Bringing a wealth of experience, Mike Dalby joins from AXA Health, where he was a Distribution Director for over two years. Prior to this, Mike was an Individual Health Director at AXA Health for almost five years.

Notably, he was also Managing Director of Health-on-Line, a venture he founded in 2000. Under his leadership, Health-on-Line flourished into a prominent brand, with AXA Health assuming the role of underwriter in 2006 and eventually acquiring the business in 2012.

Commenting on his new role Mike said, “I am thrilled to join Howden. The company’s leadership in the employee benefits market and its rapid expansion, both organically and through strategic acquisitions, are impressive. My focus is to build upon this momentum, grow the consumer team and address the heightened demand for individual health and protection solutions.”

Glenn Thomas, CEO Health & Benefits and Global Practice Head at Howden said: “Mike brings tremendous business and industry expertise to the team and will be an asset to clients and to Howden. He is highly regarded and a trailblazer in the sector, founding his start-up health tech business which he grew into a successful brand and subsequently sold.

‘’As a business, we are seeing increased numbers of individuals exploring health and protection insurance for themselves and their families, many for the first time. They are looking for expert advice to navigate the market and help in selecting the appropriate cover to meet their personal needs. Under Mike’s leadership, Howden’s team are able to provide specialist knowledge and support to consumers. We are confident that with Mike at the helm, our consumer business will go from strength to strength.”

Medtronic awarded The Menopause Friendly Accreditation

Medtronic – the global healthcare technology organisation – has been awarded The Menopause Friendly Accreditation.  With a business goal of ‘alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life’, Medtronic boldly confronts the most challenging health problems facing humanity by searching out and finding solutions.

Medtronic unites a global team of 95,000 people in a desire to provide innovative technologies which transform the lives of two people every second of every hour of every day.  Within the UK and Ireland it employs 1,234 people in its Watford and Dublin offices.

The Menopause Friendly Accreditation, established by Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace (www.menopausefriendly.co.uk), recognises high standards and proven practices that embrace menopause in the workplace.

In order to achieve The Menopause Friendly Accreditation, employers are assessed by an Independent Panel and must demonstrate evidence of their effectiveness in these six key areas:  culture, policies and practices, training, engagement, facilities and evaluation.

Medtronic is proud of its success in achieving accreditation, seeing its commitment to menopause education as part of its aim to build a more inclusive culture.

“We wanted women to see Medtronic as a place for their career throughout all the stages of their life while also wanting men to feel included, and a part of our learning experience to allow them to support their partners, families and colleagues,” says Jacqui Godfrey, Women’s Health Team Member at Medtronic.

“Being menopause friendly has brought a very positive experience which is uniting our workforce: our work is ongoing as we continue to learn and to support in new ways,” adds Women’s Health Team Member Beverley Herrick. 

Three key menopause friendly actions of which Medtronic is most proud include:

  • Banishing the stigma around both menopause and other areas of women’s health
  • Creating a network where passionate and caring people learn together and support each other
  • Witnessing the growth from a few tiny voices asking for change into building a strong foundation for every single one of our current employees and benefitting employees who have yet to join us

“Looking at how we have grown together, we are especially proud of our community of champions who are always keeping the conversation going,” says Stephanie Barlow, Women’s Health Team Member.  “This is so important as colleagues are able to talk openly, and confident that they are not only being heard but actively being listened to.

“Going the one step further to gain Menopause Friendly Accreditation has been so worthwhile.  This commitment is the right thing to do all of our employees and is central to our overall wellness strategy at Medtronic,” says Samantha Hall from the Medtronic Senior Leadership Team.

Women’s Health Team Member Colin Simpson was eager to be part of the menopause project group as part of his role as the Disease State manager for Gynaecology for the UK and Ireland.  “I was having daily conversations regarding women’s health and what more we could do as a company to improve education, knowledge and access to treatments,” he says. “Menopause has long been a topic of importance and it was abundantly clear to me that we had to come together to support the women within Medtronic as much as we could with education and resources to help when it came to menopause and its associated symptoms.”

“The commitment to educate and support all their staff really shines through at Medtronic,” says Deborah Garlick, CEO of Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace. “The enthusiasm with which the organisation and workforce has embraced Menopause Friendly Accreditation clearly demonstrates how important this issue is and how much of a difference to people’s lives it is making.”