Last year, the British worker took an average of 4.3 days sick leave, and although this was the lowest figure on record, over 137 million work days were lost in total. Over a quarter of these sick days – 34 million to be exact – were as a result of minor illnesses, like coughs and colds.
Common complaints like these increase pressure on medical services, which can result in delays in accessing medical services. Aside from being detrimental to your health, being unable to secure a doctor’s appointment is also bad for business.
Employees who can’t get an appointment promptly with a GP, face longer recovery times and extended sick leave if they are delayed in receiving a ‘fit note’.
Why do employees need a fit note?
In the UK, all employees must produce a Statement of Fitness or ‘fit note’ if they’ve been off sick for more than seven days. The note certifies that the employee is either ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit to work’ and is usually issued after a visit to the doctor.
If an employee has been out for less than seven days, they’ll be able to ‘self-certify’ when they return to work by filling in a form.
Obtaining a fit note requires a trip to a GP, where a doctor will assess the patient and give advice about the functional effects of the condition on the patient’s fitness for work in general.
The doctor could decide that the patient is ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit for work if taking into account the following advice’. In this scenario, the HR manager should liaise with the employee and decide what next steps to take. This may mean a gradual return to work or even a reduction in hours.
Problems with getting a fit note
While fit notes are necessary for protecting employee wellbeing, they’re often time-consuming to obtain. Workers can find it difficult to get a doctor’s appointment, and without the right certificate, they can’t return to work.
NHS walk-in centres open outside office hours but are very busy, particularly during flu season, meaning long waiting times for patients.
Commuters who are registered with their local GP can also find it difficult to get an appointment to suit their schedule. Some commuters will even have to use their annual leave to visit the doctor.
Employee absenteeism is not only bad for business, but it’s bad for employees as well. By taking days off to get fit notes or treat minor illnesses, employees risk falling behind, working overtime and losing pay. However, absenteeism can be dramatically reduced if all employees have access to VideoDoc.
How can VideoDoc help?
Every year, millions of Britons visit their GP because of minor health conditions, such as sore throats, eczema or stomach problems. These minor illnesses only require a short consultation, but a busy NHS means that delays and overrun appointments are likely.
With functionality similar to Skype, VideoDoc provides secure face-to-face consultations with experienced GPs and because it’s all done online, consultations can take place anywhere – even in the office. Following your online appointment, the GP will be able to issue a prescription or fit note when required. Prescriptions can be sent to you or faxed directly to your pharmacy for immediate collection.
VideoDoc combines medical expertise with the convenience of modern technology, meaning employees will never need to unnecessarily take time off for a doctor’s visit.
Business Benefits of VideoDoc
A company-wide subscription to VideoDoc is one of the most practical employee benefits your company can provide. Healthcare benefits like this boost morale by making staff feel more valued and secure, and it’s proven that happier employees make for a more productive workforce.
With instant access to registered GPs, no one will ever have to wait to get an appointment or put up with minor ailments when a consultation is only a video call away. VideoDoc’s revolutionary service allows businesses to tackle absenteeism and reduce employee sick days.
Each year, sick days cost the average UK business £554 per employee and the British economy £100 billion. Figures like that make a significant impact on the bottom line.
When you sign up for VideoDoc Online Doctor Service, your staff will enjoy a range of health benefits, while your business reclaims days’ and weeks’ worth of lost work days. Contact us today to learn more: