North West no longer has
highest sickness rate in the UK
THE North West no longer has the worst
sickness rate in the UK, according to the:- '2016 Sickness Absence Survey'
published by EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, and employee Benefits
The annual business survey, the largest of its kind, shows that 5.4 days a year
are now lost to sickness per person in the region; down from 6.2 days a year
previously. It means that the region is now only slightly above the UK average,
where 5.3 days a year are lost to sickness per person.
The North West has climbed up the rankings from bottom place to 7th in the UK;
but this still means only the East Midlands, Scotland and Wales lose more days,
per person, to sickness. At the same time, the region's absence rate has
decreased from 2.7% to 2.4%; again placing it above the national average of
Across the UK, long term absence has increased for the second year in a row. At
the same time, 40% of firms say that an under pressure NHS is struggling to meet
their need to get employees back to work.
There has been a further fall in employers' confidence in GPs to improve return
to work rates, while perceptions of the effectiveness of the 'fit note'
system continues to deteriorate. At the same time, the burden of referring
employees to the new 'Fit for Work' service is shifting to employers.
The report warns that an over stretched NHS is proving unable to support the
working age population by providing timely and effective rehabilitation and
medical treatment. As a result, it is urging radical action to tackle the UK's
chronic sickness absence problem and to encourage more employers to pay for
private treatment for employees to ease the burden on the NHS.
2 fifths of companies still rely exclusively on the NHS as the primary source
of treatment to reduce absence; 18% currently pay for non NHS treatment.
However, 31% would pay for medical treatment if there was a Benefit to the
company, while 59% would be most incentivised to pay for the cost of treatment
or workplace adjustment by some form of employer allowable business expense.
According to EEF, a fit and healthy workforce is an essential component of
economic growth and therefore more incentives are required to encourage
employers to provide private healthcare as part of efforts to tackle the UK's
Steve Warren, North West Region Director at EEF, says:- "It's interesting
to see how our region compares for sickness rates, but there is a serious
concern here. We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that keeping people fit and
healthy, while enabling a speedy return to work from absence, is essential to
economic growth. However, this report shows long term absence on the
increase and an under pressure NHS that is struggling to deal with the issue.
With an ageing population this situation is only going to get worse; radical
action is required. Government must now use incentives to encourage employers to
pay for private medical treatment and allow it to be offset in the same way as
other business expenses. Not only would this help take the pressure off the NHS,
but it would allow a speedier return to work. This would be a win win for
Government, employers and employees."
In response to the report and ahead of a White Paper on workforce health due to
be published this summer, EEF has made the following recommendations:-
► Review the current levels of employer Taxation for employer led health
interventions where they are currently Taxed as Benefits in kind
► Carry out sensitivity analysis of different fiscal incentives, such as changes
to allowable business expenses, Tax Credits and Tax Relief
► Treat Tax Relief for Private Medical Insurance (PMI) in the same way as the
£500 Tax exemption for treatments recommended by the Fit for Work service
► Consider Tax Relief on income protection insurance or group income protection
(GIP) as a means of providing sick pay and rehabilitation support to employees
► Provide some form of fiscal incentive to companies that fund treatments as
part of rehabilitation, which would otherwise have had to be provided by the NHS
or which prevented state Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) payments.
Thought provoking drama
coming to Wirral
AN acclaimed play that challenges
religious, political and racial extremism is coming to Wirral over the next few
weeks, with a series of free performances.
"1 Extreme to the Other" is being staged by the Manchester based GW
Theatre Company and will be performed 10 times over 5 days in 5 different
locations over the course of the next 6 weeks.
Primarily aimed at 14 to 25 year olds, but open to anyone older than that too;
the play centres around the story of 2 former friends, Tony and Ali, whose drift
into different forms of extremism sets them on a potential collision course.
"1 Extreme to the Other" tackles a range of important issues head on
and is designed to stimulate debate beyond the performance itself as it asks the
audience to consider what unites communities as well as looking at what
The play is being brought to the borough by the Wirral Safeguarding Partnership
Board. Admission is free, but people wanting to attend will need to book their
place as numbers are limited.
There will be a morning performance, from 10:30am to noon, and an afternoon
from 12:45pm to 2.30pm, at each of these locations on the following dates:-
► Wednesday, 15 June 2016, at
Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, CH44 8ED
► Tuesday, 21 June 2016, at
Heswall British Legion, 78 Pensby Rd, Heswall, CH60 7SF
► Monday, 27 June, at
Bromborough Civic Hall, All Port Lane Precinct, Bromborough, CH62 7HR
► Tuesday, 19 July 2016, at
Birkenhead Town Hall, Hamilton Street, Birkenhead CH41 8ED
To book a place, email your preferred date and time to Gaynor Dysart at:-
GW Theatre is 1 of the Country's leading theatre companies specialising in
creating and delivering powerful, high quality original theatre productions
aimed at young people and children as well as carers, parents, the wider
community and professionals.
In an approach that combines theatrical verve and dash with passion and humour,
the company produces vivid and memorable plays that make demands on the company
and audiences, proving to even the hardest sceptics that theatre is a very
powerful educational tool for engaging both young and adult audiences.
Dobbies to help welltality
flourish in Southport
LEADING UK garden centre Dobbies is on
a quest to help local community groups revamp their outdoor space by creating
beautiful Welltality Gardens up and down the Country. The garden expert, which
has a branch in Southport, hopes to encourage Brits to take better care of their
health and wellbeing by using their outdoor space.
This year, Welltality; the notion of putting personal health 1st; has
extended far beyond the health and food industry, and is now becoming
increasingly popular within the garden. Consumers are already embracing Welltality, at home, by growing their own food and spending more time outdoors to
relax and lift their mood.
Dobbies is keen to help local community groups, which have an outdoor space that
needs some TLC, design and construct their very own Welltality Garden.
Are you a youth group looking for an exciting new hands on project? Or perhaps
you're a mental health group looking to create a tranquil space to spend time
in? Whatever your cause, Dobbies is eager to help. The space will be well
planned to suit the needs of the project, keeping personal wellbeing at the
heart of the design. The secluded haven will act as an ideal space to relax and
unwind and help to promote feelings of health and happiness.
Zoe Stanmore, Community Champion at Dobbies Southport said:- "Dobbies has
a strong commitment to the local community and we are always on the look out for
ways to give back to those around us. The Welltality Garden is a fantastic
opportunity for local groups and we are extremely excited at the prospect of
creating a new outdoor sanctuary in Southport."
All interested community groups should be located within 20 miles of a Dobbies
store, and must apply by 15 July 2016. Please contact:-