Scottish employers should take ‘social responsibility’ for employees’ health and wellbeing
Published by Anne Marie Hughes on Mon 02 Jul 12 @ 17:02
Companies in Scotland have a 'corporate social responsibility' to look after the health and wellbeing of their employees. This was the message delivered on 26 June 2012 by David Mobbs, Chief Executive of Nuffield Health to Glasgow Chamber's 'Platinum Partners' - businesses representing a range of Scottish industry attending a dinner held by the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.
Addressing the challenges facing Scotland's healthcare system, including the increasing chronic disease burden and ageing population, which look set to cripple the NHS' resources, Mr Mobbs said that Scotland's 'in denial' health policy makers must find new and effective solutions.
Mr Mobbs told the delegation that these solutions lie outside of the NHS and in the hands of individuals, and more significantly their employers.
Speaking at the dinner, Mr Mobbs said: "It is neither practical, nor affordable for the for the state to intervene in everyday lifestyle decisions on a mass scale, except for major public health programmes like alcohol or smoking. Therefore, the solution to the major challenges that NHS faces lay outside of NHS. The state can only create the right environment to encourage individuals and employers to take responsibility for wellbeing and to encourage the market to respond with solutions. We have already seen evidence with minimum pricing for alcohol here in Scotland"
"Inevitably there will be more regulatory demands on the employer to ensure the wellbeing of their workforce
"Those businesses that seize the strategic wellbeing imperative now will not only be in control of their own agenda, but will also be able to lead and capture the health policy agenda in Scotland"
Mr Mobbs told the delegation that the global financial crisis had damaged corporate reputations and given rise to public anger at corruption & executive pay. He said this had further evolved the concept of corporate social responsibility, with consumers wishing to work for, and purchase from, companies they feel have a real social conscience
Mr Mobbs added: "I believe that in the future the traditional way in which a consumer defines a good company will be shaped by the role that organisation plays in looking after the wellbeing of its people, and more importantly by how that company can demonstrated its impact on the health of the country."
David Snape, Hospital Director, Nuffield Health Glasgow Hospital said: "In Glasgow and the West of Scotland we are already seeing a move towards a new healthcare model that underpins our assumptions. We recently launched an enhanced employee engagement program with one of the city's largest employers in the financial services sector which was well received with more than 250 of their employees meeting with our team at a one day onsite event. There are three other companies in the pipe line who have expressed an interest in participating in what we call our Affinity program , so the awareness is definitely there amongst local employers."
In 2007, these emerging trends in the UK healthcare market saw Nuffield Health take the strategic decision to branch into corporate health and expand into the wellbeing market, addressing an unmet need to provide greater consumerism in health, provide for the significant unmet need help people stay healthy, and to address the needs of the UK PLC.
The proposition is unique and challenges the traditional gym operators. Everyone who joins Nuffield Health fitness and wellbeing centres receives a clinical governed Health MOT covering 12 risk areas including cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, aerobic fitness, - weight and BMI. This translates into an easily understandable health score - indicating the level of risk. This allows us to work with them to manage their lifestyle risks.
Although still developing the proposition, the results speak for themselves - with over 70% of members who have had an MOT - improving their health by reducing at least one risk: 58 % cent lost weight and reduced their BMI (Body Mass Index); 73 % improved their aerobic fitness; 90% have lowered their blood sugar levels; 81% of have reduced their blood pressure.