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Study Reveals Welsh Workers are the UK’s Most Stoic


Employee services business Personal Group and online doctor service, videoDoc are today unveiling the findings of a nationally representative survey of 2,496 UK employees on their attitudes and behaviours around work presenteeism and illness in the workplace. The survey was commissioned to celebrate on the announcement of their partnership to provide online doctor consultations to UK employees through the Personal Group’s benefits app, Hapi. Personal Group helps UK businesses to improve their productivity via better engagement with their employees. These products and services are directed to over two million employees in the UK.

The nationwide survey indicated some strong regional differences in attitudes to health in the workplace. In Wales, 82% of staff reported going to work ill and spent an average of five days at work when they should have stayed home in bed. In contrast, Northern Irish workers were the least likely to go to work ill (with 71.8% reporting going into work ill). This same figure was 76% and 75% for Scotland and England respectively.

Also, when asked whether employers have a responsibility to support employee health and wellbeing, 77.8% of Welsh respondents agreed, versus a UK average of 85%.

The UK wide study also found that:

  • 75.3% of surveyed UK employees reported having worked whilst ill last year
  • Over half of UK employees (52%) had delayed seeking medical advice because they didn’t want to take time off work
  • Over a third (38.8%) of UK employees have delayed seeking medical advice, only to discover that they eventually needed treatment
  • 84.7% of UK employees believe employers have a responsibility to support employee health and being
  • 86.8% of young people (those aged 16-24) were more likely to go to work ill, take unpaid leave (25.1%) or lie (14.8%) to see a GP
  • The Welsh are the UK’s most stoic workers: more than 82% went to work when they were ill, and the average Welsh worker spent five days in work when they should have stayed home
  • 7 in 10 (69.9%) British workers surveyed think that more companies should offer online doctor services
  • Almost half (47.5%) of surveyed British workers would use an online doctor if it was quicker than seeing one in person

Attitudes to online doctor access at work

An overwhelming 70% of respondents agreed that having access to an online doctor would give them ‘peace of mind’, with almost half (47.5%) of respondents said that they would use an online GP doctor if it was quicker than seeing one in person, if they could speak to a doctor at work (29.3%) or if it saved them from having to take time off work (30.8%).

Mark Scanlon, chief executive of Personal Group, said:

“This study shines a light on the pressures the modern work environment places on the health of British workers, highlighting that most UK employees actively delay seeking medical advice because of work. An overwhelming 85% of workers believe that their employers have a responsibility to support the health and wellbeing of workers. We agree, not least because a workforce with easy access to medical advice will be healthier, happier and more productive. This is why we’re now offering our clients’ employees online doctor consultations through our new OnDemand GP service, powered by leading online healthcare company, videoDoc and accessible through our Hapi app anytime and anywhere. Employees can see and speak to a doctor in under ten minutes and even have any subsequent prescriptions sent to their local pharmacy for pick up.”

Dr Brian McManus, Medical Director at videoDoc, said:

“The results of this study suggest a worrying trend that employees are prioritising work over health. As demands on employee productivity increase, employees feel pressured to simply struggle on regardless. This pressure is only going to increase and so while we always recommend that people take the time to visit their GP in person, especially when they are concerned about their health, we see online doctor video consultations as an important means to circumvent time constraints in appropriate cases.”

“We share the views of Dr. Eric Topol currently undertaking an independent review of the NHS’ approaches to technology. Like Dr. Topol, we believe that within a decade virtual consultations could overtake the number of physical visits. We advise that patients should take the time to visit their doctor, but this is not always possible with the demands on GPs. Having almost instant access to a doctor for less complex cases in our view makes sense in terms of one’s overall health management and allows patients to choose a time and place for their virtual consultation.”