Lancastrians are living longer but that much of that time will be spent in ill health. A new report from Lancashire’s director of public health and wellbeing shows on average people in the county will spend the last 17 years of their lives in poor health. Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi believes that local businesses have a key role in helping improve the health outcomes of staff.
Dr. Karunanithi wants businesses to make the wellbeing of their workforce a priority and forge partnerships with the NHS. He says this should have a positive effect for productivity and the bottom line.
Responding to the report Geoff Mason, Policy Manager of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of commerce said:
“Increasing productivity is crucial for businesses across Lancashire to remain competitive. Reducing time, and money, lost to sickness is an important part of achieving this. Signs are that local businesses are paying more attention to the health and wellbeing of their staff.
“There is more interest than ever in the training courses run by the Chamber that cover these areas, especially those covering stress and mental wellbeing. At the request of members one of the Chamber’s ‘Get Connected’ events in April will focus on health and wellbeing. This will be in addition to the ‘Get Active’ series of events which aim to encourage both physical exercise and team building.”
“Looking at new companies joining the Chamber’s membership it would seem this is a growing sector. Several wellbeing practitioners have set up and are engaging with companies. This is positive news not only for the workforce but also for productivity and the local economy. Bearing that in mind it is likely that public health initiatives that engage the business community would be welcomed by companies.”
Chamber member, Helen Kimber of yoga nurition and fitness company, Hero Lifestyle said:
“Your most important asset as a business is the people who work for you. If you treat them well, you’ll reap the rewards – and treating them well doesn’t necessarily mean in monetary value, but maybe getting people in to talk to them about health and do some work with them.
“I find that people are quite welcoming – as long as you’re not preaching to them.
“If, as an employee, you are knowledgeable about [health], you can make more decisions for yourself about how to live. You might also have more resilience – so that when life does throw something at you, you can perhaps cope with it better.”
View the full report: Investing in Our Health & Wellbeing
Read more in the Lancashire Post: Lancashire’s growing health divide laid bare – and why one medic thinks business can help bridge it