PSHPC launches absence service to outperform H&WS

Punter Southall Health & Protection Consulting is launching an absence management proposition it says will deliver better outcomes than the Government’s new Health and Work Service.

The service, called Healthsmart, integrates occupational health, absence management and employee benefits, using defined referral triggers and pro-active processes to manage both short and long-term absence. Healthsmart gives employees access to support and medical services through a combination of occupational health and benefit activation and aims to minimise work-related illness and injury by providing employees with medical assessments, recommendations and positive mentoring. The intermediary says the service should reduce sickness absence and can cut group income protection premiums by around 5 per cent.

PSHPC says the Government’s new Health and Work Service, due to launch later in 2014, will not support long-term sickness absence, nor link with wider employee benefits such as private medical insurance and income protection to provide a holistic employee healthcare solution in the way its Healthsmart proposition does.

The Health and Work Service is proposing early occupational health intervention if an absence is likely to exceed four weeks, whereas PSHPC’s proposition will refer an employee as soon as the employer is notified of an absence that may require occupational health intervention.

Healthsmart offers three tiers of service and benefits – Healthbase, Healthmonitor and Healthtrend – for the bespoke needs of organisations looking to encourage total business wellbeing. Organisations using Healthmonitor and Healthtrend share their absence data with PSHPC each month and cases are reviewed individually to help staff back to work as quickly as possible. Healthbase is an ad hoc service that organisations can use as needed.

PSHPC head of wellness consulting Beate O’Neil says: “A key challenge for employers will be deciding how to integrate the Health and Work Service with their existing occupational health and employee benefits provision. Employers are also concerned that the Health and Work Service will not know enough about their business to pull together Return to Work Plans that are effective for both the employee and the company. So larger employers, those with safety critical or specialist employees or companies that want to pro-actively manage absence and Return to Work plans will be unlikely to rely on it for their absence solutions.”