Around 1,300 working adults across the UK were asked what benefit they would prefer to receive if they were diagnosed with cancer. The findings showed that nearly one in two workers, 49 per cent, would opt for extended paid sick leave that would allow them to return to their job following treatment, in preference to funding for private treatment, selected by 27 per cent or a cash lump compensation payment with healthcare provided by the NHS, popular with 23 per cent. This sentiment was reflected across the UK. The percentage of workers preferring to return to work through extended sick leave pay rose to nearly 60 per cent amongst workers in Leeds but dipped slightly to 43 per cent of Manchester workers.and#160;
The results showed that among male and female workers, female workers are much more likely than their male colleagues to opt for extended sick leave pay – 58 per cent compared to 41 per cent.
The findings demonstrate that workers are prepared to put their faith in NHS cancer treatment despite findings in 2006 from the government’s National Radiotherapy Advisory Group that showed British cancer patients get 25 per cent less treatment than their European counterparts. Currently over 90,000 people in the UK workforce are diagnosed with cancer each year, a figure that is expected to rise significantly, putting further pressure on the NHS.
Aon says the findings show the need to review current policies and benefits to ensure they are not funding expensive treatments that their employees may not value. Currently employers appear happy to offer funding for costly treatments to those covered under private care at the expense of alternatively investing in improved rehabilitation and support for all.and#160;
Alex Bennett, head of healthcare at Aon says: “The findings show a real need for employers to assess whether current policies and benefits match up with what their employees really need. “Reconfiguring these to provide employees with choices, and their colleagues with support to welcome them back, may make more sense than funding expensive treatments that may not be as valued as the alternatives.”