UK businesses lost 201 million hours – or an estimated £900 million in paid sick leave – to employees taking time off work for health appointments in the last year alone, research from Unum shows.
The survey of over 2,000 UK workers found the average full-time worker spent 8.3 hours attending appointments each year, making 3.1 visits to their GP and 1.7 visits to specialists.
Many respondents (60%) said they found taking time off for these appointments stressful and 25% said they had to cancel an appointment due to personal issues or their workload being too high.
Of those who had to cancel an appointment, 62% said their health deteriorated to some extent as a result.
Three-quarters said their productivity at work is impacted while waiting for appointments.
Peter O’Donnell, Unum UK chief executive, said good employers understand the importance of enabling workers to attend their healthcare appointments promptly.
“Early treatment can often result in a quicker resolution to a medical issue and bring added peace of mind,” he added.