70% of employees worried about survival chances due to overstretched NHS
For healthcare in the UK, the past 18 months has been a period like no other. The focus on COVID-19 and the immense strain on the NHS have resulted in cutbacks right across the healthcare spectrum affecting every aspect of cancer care from screening through to treatment.
The impact of COVID on cancer care
Last month we surveyed 1,000 employees from large organisations (1000+ company size) and 150 HR decision-makers to find out how the impact of COVID has affected stresses on businesses and the expectations of their employees. It was clear from the results that people are concerned. And with good reason…
Since the start of the pandemic, cancer screening programmes have been paused, GP visits disrupted, and referrals and diagnoses delayed. Worryingly too, with the focus on COVID and for a variety of personal reasons, an estimated 50,000 fewer people have been diagnosed with cancer in what was an upward trend of diagnoses.
68% of employees worry about the length of time to receive a diagnosis by the NHS
Employees now have genuine worries about the length of time it will take to receive test results from the NHS, further delays to treatment and the impact on outcome, leading to unprecedented demand for private healthcare.
The impact of delayed cancer care on businesses
The impact of delays has also been felt by employers with 90% of organisations experiencing an increase in critical illness referrals to HR, that they ascribe to COVID-related delays.
With one in seven NHS staff redeployed to other areas during the pandemic, the cancer backlog may take up to a decade to clear. This will directly impact employers through extended absences, increasing premiums and associated insurance costs.
More than ever before, employers have a leading role to play in cancer care. From our survey it’s clear that employees expect support from their employer after receiving a diagnosis or when caring for someone who has. Therefore, it’s essential for every business to have a clear strategy to ensure the right systems, structure and employee benefits are in place before they’re needed.
“It’s better to be pro-active and have a framework in place to help individuals and minimise the stress on the business for what looks to become a growing problem over the next few years. We hope this report provides deeper insight into the cancer challenge and encourages HR directors to take steps towards developing workable solutions.” Catherine McDermott, CEO
Cancer’s ripple effect on your people
A single cancer diagnosis can have an impact on employee morale, engagement and productivity across the whole business. While HR professionals and line managers ensure that the diagnosed employee gets the right support and guidance, businesses mustn’t forget the impact on these team leaders and other colleagues too.
“It takes a small village to support those affected by cancer” Reframe
The ripple effect of a cancer diagnosis means policies on mental health, hybrid working and amending job roles might need adjustment. It may also be necessary to amend targets and provide extra training and support for employees, but also to make employees aware of the benefits offered to them. Communication and an open dialogue are vital.
Reframing your response to the cancer crisis
Delayed diagnoses, a stretched NHS and a workforce anxious about its health are all factors that are likely to lead to an increase in costs for businesses. Getting access to clinicians for rapid diagnoses should be prioritised by employers managing costs and claims. In addition to establishing how they will support employees through the process of cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Our Avoiding the Cancer Catastrophe whitepaper gets to the crux of the issues faced by employers in the current healthcare landscape. It also looks at the concerns of employees and their expectations of employer support in the event of a diagnosis.