Investments in healthcare and wellness are investments in the economy, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The UK loses 131m working days a year to ill-health, costing the nation around £180bn in GDP, data from the CBI’s new Work Health Index revealed yesterday.
“Labour market resilience is a precondition to growth,” CBI president Brian McBridge explained.
“Without healthy, productive employees, the UK economy will be unable to achieve the growth it sorely needs.”
The Index comes at a time when the government is looking to ramp up productivity, following an over decade long slump.
“With the UK staring down a fiscally constrained period, the moment to boost the UK’s preventative health model is now,” McBridge continued, adding that “with workforce health higher than ever before on the business agenda in the wake of the pandemic, the CBI believes this is the ideal time to launch this partnership between industry, government and the health service”.
A string of the largest businesses operating in the UK, including Aviva, Pfizer, and Rolls Royce, have helped the CBI create the Index as part of the Business for Health group.
Neil O’Brien, the minister for primary care and public health, added: “A healthy and resilient workforce is vital for the economy of our nation, and any steps employers make to improve the health and wellbeing of their staff are commended.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to level-up health and care across the country.”
In August, president of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), Pinder Sahota, told City A.M. that an ailing healthcare industry jeopardises the UK’s already low productivity levels.
The pharmaceutical idustry, like many in the UK, has been wrestling with staff shortages, inflation and dwindling investment.
“If we can encourage more research and manufacturing to be done here in the UK… Then that has a positive impact on improving the health of the nation and workforce productivity,” said Sahota.
The government realising its ‘science superpower’ pledge and tackling illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and obesity will inevitably have a “knock on effect on productivity”, added Sahota.