Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Support needed for workers with cancer

When we talk about cancer, obviously we're not talking about just one single disease - since there are over 200 different types of cancer.

As such, this also just as obviously means that there will be a high degree of variance in terms of diagnoses as well as prognoses.

And in the workplace there are currently over half a million people with some form of cancer (560,000 to be more precise) according to new research carried out by Oxford Economics. And the contribution to the economy from a number of people this large is of course significant, running to 16 billion pounds annually.

With improved detection rates over time, and resultant higher number of people being diagnosed plus greater survival rates, it's estimated that the number of people in the workplace with cancer could actually almost double to a million people - meaning that greater support for people with any form of the disease will be imperative as we move forward.

Currently there are 63,000 people with cancer who would prefer to be in work but are unable to make this happen due to various barriers making it too difficult. The Oxford Economics study throws up some important issues that will be of interest to HR strategists as well as those interested in workplace wellbeing strategies.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

The cost of smoking: a business health issue

The cost of smoking is now so high that it's a surprise anyone still smokes. In the last century, cigarettes went from being a cheap commodity and used by the majority to something expensive and used, if not by the few exactly, then certainly by an ever decreasing minority.

And luckily, the whole world seems to be cleaning up its act on smoking. Offices, shops, workplaces don't even have a smoking room anymore. And trains don't have a smoking carriage - which is a relief since if you ever had to walk through one it was like being kippered.

However, as the many who've successfully given up smoking will tell you - it can sometimes be difficult to kick the habit. But there are more and more products available to help with this, and what with all the restrictions on smoking these days, such as the bar and restaurant smoking ban - it's easier to get through a day and not actually find oneself in many situations where the people around are smoking.

There's loads of good info online for anyone looking to start stopping smoking. Healthcare insurance provider AXA PPP healthcare has a useful set of fact sheets including a detailed one on smoking cessation. NHS choices also has some good content on this subject.

There was a report in the Guardian not long ago that said smoking costs businesses in the UK £1.4bn in lost productivity due to the higher number of sick leave days taken by those who smoke. And according to recent research smokers are about a third more likely to take time off due to sickness.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Health news: "unacceptable" care levels in NHS wards and care homes

According to a report in today's newspaper health pages, there is concern about the quality of care on hospital wards and care homes due to the lack of training provided for healthcare assistants, and calls for them to be trained to NVQ standard. Some of the 'basic tasks' that nurses once performed as part of their job are now done by 50,000 'low-paid and unregulated' healthcare assistants.

One of the concerns is that while healthcare assistants can serve patients food and ensure they're hydrated, they're not trained in spotting the symptoms of dehydrations or changes in a patient's body head. According to the Telegraph's article on this story, there have been deaths from starvation, thirst and bed sores.

The report, which was commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing, had this to say:

The commission finds it unacceptable that staff whose competence is not regulated or monitored are caring for vulnerable citizens.

It's undoubtedly the case that there will need to be some kind of a structured and accredited training for healthcare assistants.

We'll cover more on this story in time to come - and hopefully the training spoken of in the report will be devised and implemented soon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Obama on healthcare

Did you hear that Barack Obama won the election? Of course you did. here is a clip of President Obama talking about the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare.