Friday, February 15, 2013

The future of healthcare

If we compare the healthcare of today with its previous self of, say, 100 years ago, there is a mountain of difference between them.

Just think of some of the breakthroughs we've seen over the last century - from heart transplantation to the discovery of penicillin, we haven't half come a long way. And healthcare has of course benefited massively from all these scientific and medical advances. In fact, to someone from a hundred years ago, today's hospital and many of the various treatments and operations it carries out would seem miraculous.

But where will we be 100 years from now? Hopefully things  like MRSA will have been consigned to the history e-books. Maybe, just maybe, some of the diseases that today are widespread could be a thing of the past, too.

Some of today's technologies - ones that aren't currently used in health services - could also be developed to play a part in patient treatment. Imagine a practitioner being able to three dimensionally print drugs for a patient. This may seem far-fetched but in fact this process is already being pioneered.

And how will hospitals look in the future - it's difficult not to imagine them being more like hotels in many respects, as treatments become less invasive and hospital stays shorter, it's possible to envisage a trip to the hospital - if not actually fun, then definitely something more pleasant than the bleachy and spartan post-Victorian hospitals of the early 20th century.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Long term sickness absence - the business view

Long term sickness absence is something that many businesses have to deal with as a fact of life. It can happen for many  reasons, and in some cases people fall out of work and onto benefits as a result. However, it's been proven by studies that work is in general good for our physical and mental health - so sometimes there are situations where people can return to work but with an altered work set up to accommodate for their condition. This could include things like a reduced schedule or part time hours, or if the person's job involves physical work that they're currently unable to carry out due to their illness, they can sometimes be given work within the organisation that doesn't involve any lifting or carrying - perhaps completing administration or desk oriented work instead.

A recent survey - reported in the news this week - shows that only about half of employers feel that they're 'well equipped' to deal with long term sickness absence. Anyone looking to find out some of the basics regarding sickness absence can go to the Health & Safety Executive website and there's also info available there on the fit note.

Last year an independent Sickness Absence Review - Health At Work - was announced by the government to take a look at how the system can be improved, and ways in which it currently fails some people. There is extensive info on the review available at the Department of Work and pensions (DWP) website here.

Small business health insurance is available from providers such as AXA PPP healthcare business cover and policies for organisations are affordable and easy to manage - you can choose the level of cover for employees so that you're not needing to pay for anything that you don't require. Employee assistance programmes are another way to help ensure your business is doing all it can to minimise sickness absence.