There has been a steady increase in recent years in the number of people waiting for planned NHS treatment. At present the number stands at 6.3M and this is predicted to exceed 10M in 2024.
There is considerable geographical variation. All areas had an increase in numbers waiting in 2021 compared with 2020, ranging from the smallest at 10%, to the highest at 90%, with an average of 40%.
Those waiting longest are women, those on lower incomes, those living in deprived areas and those with long term health conditions.
However, it is not known how many of the waiting 6.3M are unable to work because of the wait for treatment. The information is not collected.
This is an emerging problem for employers, as some of their employees are off work for long periods. The employees are frustrated and may develop anxiety about job security or other mental health issues due to work absence.
What can be done?
Occupational health professionals may be able to advise on:
Expected wait times
Redeployment within the workplace, temporary or permanent
Reskilling and training for alternative work
Help with access to physiotherapy and other services
Using Access to Work support
Possible non-NHS sources of treatment by using their knowledge of local, national and international health economies
In our experience, employees greatly value talking to a health professional about their concerns and to discuss available options with a well-informed listener.
Some background information
Please contact Workplace Wellness for more information on how we may help you.