A 2021 report has warned that, thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown measures, NHS waiting lists could sky-rocket to become an overburdening 13 million by the autumn of 2022.
It will also have come as a shock to many during the pandemic, that something as simple as face-to-face access to a GP was not available for considerable periods. For those who needed treatment, for serious or chronic conditions, any delays will have been very worrying. There are ongoing concerns that the NHS will take some time to get back on an even keel having reoriented itself during the pandemic. NHS bosses have warned about their worries over delays to cancer care. And that’s before the probability that the health system may still face significant challenges through 2022.
Employers will want to factor these worries into their own wellbeing thinking. Priorities can change in periods of crisis. It’s likely that most employees, including younger members of the workforce, will attach more value to being able to get medical and other professional advice swiftly, than they did before the pandemic.
But it’s not just a matter of shifting employee expectations and a greater sense of duty of care. Prioritizing wellbeing also makes good business sense. Pre-pandemic, there was already an appreciation of the link between health and wellbeing and enhanced productivity, within larger corporates.
Within SMEs, practice varies. Before the crisis, for some, it still may have been less of a priority. But latest statistics show the pandemic has made the link between health, happiness and productivity very clear for companies of all sizes.