Is now the time to review your OH service?

If the answer to this question is yes, then you’re probably already underway and this blog is not aimed at you (although feel free to read on).

If the answer is no/don’t know/don’t care then, HELLO! Let me explain what massive advantages there are in having a high quality occupational health provider by your side as you go about being innovative, productive and profitable in whatever it is that you do when not reading blogs.

Occupational health is now, more than ever, about offering professional consultancy; think lawyer, tax advisor, GDPR expert (if there is such a thing). What good OH isn’t is over-the-counter advice and same-day-delivery medical services. A true OH specialist will want to understand, no, insist on understanding your business before he/she even thinks about sliding a contract over the table. Occupational health is unique to each business it serves; many of our services are generic, but the risks, working practices and and organisational culture are always different client-to-client. Your new OH provider will understand why you need occupational health, probably better than you do, and that’s a good thing. This dynamic (advisor-client as opposed to master-servant) is what will help you optimise your OH service over the months and years you work together and will mean they can offer you intelligent suggestions when things aren’t working. If you haven’t already got this sort of relationship with your OH provider, it’s time to email that person in procurement to get things moving.

Last year we saw two royal weddings, football almost coming home and a government with more moves than an intense game of chess, but what we’re really going to remember is the launch of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). This new regulatory framework has put the fear of God into those who understand its implications, and rightly so, as it seems that our most revealing data has been being sold off to the highest bidder for years prior. The Occupational health industry has no choice but to sit up and pay attention to these new regulations as the sensitive personal information we handle, generate, store and retrieve on a daily basis means we also carry a huge responsibility for taking care of it. As do our clients, who carry increased liability for the sins of their suppliers in the eyes of the law. Paper, paper process, manual data entry and wide circulation of occupational health paperwork has been the biggest failing of the UK occupational health industry for years now – it would be generous to say that providers should have been gearing up for a paperless future a decade ago – but the GDPR has turned this from a nice-to-have, to a time-to-start-insolvency-planning risk for anyone delivering occupational health services. Enterprise-wide technology is the way we tackle this, and money, fortunately Medigold Health have been continually spending on digitalisation since 2013, but if your incumbent OH provider is still tapping their ballpoint on a clipboard, it’s time to get your RFI’s in the post, sorry, email; sorry, TLS encrypted email.

Occupational medicine is a discipline under threat. Put simply, there aren’t enough properly qualified clinicians, of reasonable working age, to meet the demand that UK plc, UK.gov.net and anyone else who employs some of the c.30m people in Britain’s workforce, have to look after the health and productivity of their people. The NHS – our fishing pond for experienced nurses and doctors with broad general practice, comerciality and common sense – has shrunk year-on-year for nearly a decade, and despite recent efforts in the industry to address this, we are still behind on our ideal target for qualifying new occupational health physicians (OHPs). As of 2016, the ratio of OHPs to UK workers was 1:68,026, and we don’t believe it has improved. This is bad news for many OH providers, who have built businesses and client-base based on being able to tap into a Yellow Pages of independent OH clinicians across the UK, as it means that their network is drying up, and they will be fighting with other OH providers for time from the same clinician, who is probably on the verge of retiring anyway. It’s even worse news for their clients, who get buffeted around by resourcing issues with changing clinicians, unfamiliar clinicians or unavailable clinicians. Even for us at Medigold Health, who still directly employ over 90% of our occupational health clinicians, recruitment is hard work, so when we hire a good occupational clinician, we invest heavily to train, stimulate and retain them. If you have noticed resourcing gaps appearing in your OH provision, then now is the time to start that market engagement process and find a supplier with a credible long-term strategy, as I’m sure your own business has one.

So unless you are already a client of ours, I guess you would now like to know how to contact us?  For a free consultation, please email: commercialteam@medigold-health.com

Medigold Health

Keeping people in work, safe and well.