The United Kingdom is presently mired in a health epidemic that is causing a troubling surge in sick leave across the country, experts caution. This crisis, leading to what has been labelled as a “sickness explosion”, is costing the economy an estimated £15 billion per year.
The stark findings are part of a new report titled ‘A Covenant for Health’, which alarmingly claims that Britons have “among the worst population health in Europe” due to pervasive issues such as obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and stark health disparities.
Rising healthcare demands from an aging population, paired with declining health among working-age adults, have spurred what the report describes as a “health emergency”. This crisis has led to an increase in “premature and often avoidable ill health”, adversely affecting both the economy and the already strained National Health Service (NHS).
According to the report, the escalating health crisis is forcing millions to fall prematurely ill, compelling a significant portion of the workforce to drop out of employment. The economic repercussions of this health crisis in 2022-2023 were significant, leading to increased welfare costs and reduced tax revenues.
In light of these findings, the workers union is calling for immediate action to address this burgeoning health crisis. It is crucial to invest in preventative health measures and initiatives, it says, to support workers’ health and wellness, reducing the need for sick leave.
The union urges employers and the government to work collectively to implement health and wellness programmes in the workplace, reduce health disparities, and foster an environment conducive to a healthier lifestyle.
Some proposed measures include improved access to nutritional education, more support for mental health in the workplace, encouraging physical activity through subsidies or discounted gym memberships, and robust alcohol and drug misuse programmes.
The workers union pledges to continue highlighting for these changes and measures, asserting that the health of UK’s workers and the robustness of its economy are two sides of the same coin. Their advocacy reiterates the importance of collective action to improve the health of the nation, which will ultimately reflect in a more resilient and prosperous economy.
The workers Union Says…
“The health of our nation’s workforce is intrinsically linked to the health of our economy, a failing workforce due to preventable illnesses not only decreases productivity but also drains our welfare system and reduces tax revenue. These aren’t just nice-to-have initiatives; they’re a matter of economic survival. It’s high time we took preventative workplace health measures seriously.”