Council getting to grips with illness

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: City Hall City Hall

Council chiefs are to meet a physiotherapy firm that has helped reduce the number of sick days taken at supermarket group Morrisons and says it can do the same for the authority.
It was revealed earlier this month that Bradford Council’s sickness bill had gone up by nearly £500,000 in 2012/13 compared with the previous year.
Contributing to that number was an increase in long-term sick to 56.05 per cent of total absentees.
And the authority has revealed that 26 per cent of its long-term sickness is down to back and musculo-skeletal problems, with 324 full-time or equivalent staff off in the last year.
Now, physio company FitBack, which supports Bradford-based Morrisons, has approached the Council to say it can bring the number down and save the authority money.
Company director Jonathan Daniel said he feels strongly about ensuring the effective management of musculo-skeletal issues at work.
“Most people want to be at work and the majority of sickness absence is genuine,” said Mr Daniel. “But what may start off as a minor, easily fixable problem can often become chronic. This can then result in psychosocial issues such as a fear of returning to work.
“This is often through no fault of their own but through a delay in getting the right advice, reassurance and appropriate rehabilitation.”
FitBack has been working with supermarket giant Morrisons, as Mr Daniel explained: “We have reduced the number of lost days resulting from musculo-skeletal issues at a site of 800 employees by 85 per cent in 12 months, not only at a vast improvement to employee health but also saving that particular business £400,000 in a year. This represented a £20 return for every £1 spent on physiotherapy services.
“This is achieved by educating managers, providing quick access to on site physiotherapy treatment and ensuring effective work specific rehabilitation. As a result, employee morale is up and sickness absence has plummeted across these workplaces.”
Robert Manson, head of occupational health and well-being at Morrisons, said: “Identifying ergonomic risks and preventing musculo-skeletal conditions is an integral part of Morrisons’ health and well-being agenda.
“Ensuring that we have a safe and comfortable workplace is essential for our colleagues, not only for efficiency but also to safeguard and improve their health. We have been successfully partnering with FitBack over the last few years and we are seeing significant benefits across the whole business.
A Council spokesman said: “We have been approached by a company outlining its services and we are proposing to meet with it in the new year.”


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