Virtual GP services are helping to reduce staff absences, new data has shown.
A survey by Canada Life revealed that more than half (54%) of employees who had used its WeCare app to book an online consultation managed to avoid taking time off work because of it and a further 27% were able to return to work sooner than expected.
Among the 2,100 workers polled, more than a fifth (22%) conceded they would have waited for their condition to get worse if they hadn’t had access to the service.
The data further found that mental health support accounted for more than one in four (27%) managed cases, making it one of the most utilised services. Of those who used it, nearly three in five (59%) were women and two in five (41%) were men. Around one in five (19%) of service users needed no further support.
It also revealed that all employees surveyed said the WeCare virtual GP service enabled them to talk to a doctor quickly enough that their condition didn’t worsen, with more than half (54%) able to receive care from home and without any further medical intervention. Of those that did, around a quarter (24%) were invited to follow-up GP consultations, while 17% received specialist referrals, and 5% were directed to their local hospitals.
Ian Ranger, head of claims and medical underwriting at Canada Life group insurance, commented: “It’s positive to see the impact that our WeCare services had last year, by reducing staff absences in the workplace and getting employees back into the workplace in a healthy and timely manner. However, as we recreate a new norm following the pandemic, we are now starting to see the legacy from the psychological impact on our nation.
“The data from WeCare highlights the continuous demand and necessity for mental health services and support, as well as virtual GP appointments. While it’s reassuring to see such a positive contribution that this service is having on individuals’ lives, it’s also a stark reminder that mental health does not discriminate and can impact anyone.”