Why your organisation’s absence record is more insightful than your GP record

Posted by Matthew Scrimshire on 23/08/17 09:16

When it comes to identifying health issues, is your company absence record more valuable than your GP’s notes?

If you look back on all your work absences, how many of those times did you visit your GP?

My guess is, on average, less than 50%.

Matthew Scrimshire, Business Development Manager and absence expert at FirstCare, explains why.  

When factoring in some people’s fear of visiting the doctor, differing perceptions of the seriousness of an ailment, prioritising other people/tasks and other variables; it may be lower.

This means that your GP’s record is missing lots of key information that is present on your organisation’s sickness record, provided it is properly recorded and categorised.

If a clinician had the whole story they could make a much more accurate assessment of your health.

At FirstCare we provide “day one” absence management support. When our nurses triage every single sickness case, as an employee reports their absence from work, they have the full absence record in front of them. This ensures a more complete assessment can be made when running through a thorough, consistent triage process, without the confines of a few short minutes with the doctor.

Currently we have more than 15.5 million days of absence data that is analysed to provide powerful insight.

Read FirstCare’s Index here for a quarterly update >

Many people believe it’s vital that the manager takes the call when people report in sick, mainly because the manager knows the role.

We appreciate that the manager has a key part to play, and we support the manager with vital information and training for productive conversations, but how does knowing the role help the employee back to health? Reasonable adjustments? If that was the case the employee wouldn’t be calling in sick, they’d be asking to work from home.

Also, when an employee calls their manager there are numerous potential obstacles: 


It’s not so easy. When you consider the rise in mental health issues, that need total focus and a significant amount of time to listen, you have a complex scenario for a manager to handle when they have had no time to prepare.

Is this traditional process the best? No, the manager does their best work when the employee returns to work, when the manager can gather their thoughts and plan how best to support their employee. 

What’s needed when an employee is unwell is clinical support, to ensure they receive the best advice to get them back to health quicker. And getting to see your doctor isn’t always easy.

Our nurses uncover one urgent health problem in every 750 calls.

At FirstCare, we take 750,000+ calls a year and we help to save lives.

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Topics: Nurse-led