Stat of the day: Long-term sickness absence in the UK

By Angela Matthews

On Friday last week, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) released statistics from the Labour Force Survey on long-term sickness absence in Great Britain and the UK between October 2010 and September 2013. Some key findings are as follows:

(Note: “Long-term” sickness absence is defined as being more than four weeks.)

General In Great Britain there were 960,000 sickness absences between October 2010 and September 2013.
Disability 52 per cent of long-term absentees had a disability. The data is not broken down by type of disability.
Number of health conditions Absentees who do not have a long-term health condition had the largest long-term absence percentage – 38 per cent. 34 per cent of absentees had two long-term health conditions, and 29 per cent had one long-term health condition.
Type of health conditions 33 per cent of long-term absentees were on long-term sickness absence due to musculoskeletal conditions; 20 per cent due to mental health conditions; and further 48 per cent had other conditions which are not specified (and this also includes the 2 per cent of absentees who did not indicate whether or not they had a disability or health condition).
Age The age groups with the largest amount of sickness absentees in the UK overall were 40-49 (25 per cent) and 50-64 (42 per cent). The age group with the lowest amount of absentees was 65 and over (3 per cent).
Region The north-west and south-east regions had the highest amount of long-term absentees – both 12 per cent. This amounts to 120,000 absences for each of these two regions.
Industry The highest number of long-term absentees in the UK work in public administration, education or health (41 per cent) and in distribution, hotels, or restaurants (17 per cent). The lowest number work in the energy and water sector (2 per cent).

The DWP do warn in this analysis that someone’s health condition may not necessarily be the cause of their absence – and this is important to remember. In addition, the way an organisation approaches managing absences and the quality of the adjustments procedure(s) that they have in place can (but not always) be crucial to whether an employee can be at work or not. Flexibility (such as, for example, considering adjusted hours, working from home, or adjusted duties) can also sometimes be a huge contributor to someone continuing to work.

You can find the data here (Excel spreadsheet) (Link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/long-term-sickness-absence)

Stat of the day: Ticket sales in the music industry

By Angela Matthews

A news article at the weekend showed that 285 disabled people out of 300 (95 per cent) had difficulties with trying to buy a ticket for a music performance or festival, and a further 249 out of 300 (83 per cent) were “put off” from making a purchase. Common difficulties included tickets usually needing to be bought over the phone during peak times and people often being asked to prove their disability. A disabled man quoted in the article said that he missed out on buying tickets because he was busy at work the day that the tickets became available and there was no option to buy online. This is perhaps an example of how making a service more accessible can benefit many more than just disabled people. And take a look at the business case for doing so: 2.5 million ticket sales were being missed out on, causing an annual revenue loss of £66 million!

Which is the greater financial cost of accessibility – £66 million, or creating an accessible website?

Stat of the day: Latest Access to Work statistics

By Angela Matthews

An ‘at a glance’ analysis of the latest Access to Work figures shows that an additional 4,260 people have been supported in work since October 2013.

Access to Work figures are not given for each quarter separately; instead, figures for each quarter are added to which means we get a bigger figure with each release. We can gauge trends by looking at the increases (as per the last column, “activity”). I have compared this morning’s release with that of October last year.

Types of conditions supported

We might not be surprised that support given for back/neck conditions and dyslexia are accelerating the most. Difficulties with speech and Spina Bifida are increasing the least.

There have been no further applications for support for stomach/liver/kidney/digestion or skin/disfigurement since October.

Condition

October

2013

January

2014

Activity

Missing or unknown

0

0

0

Arms or hands

810

1,090

+280

Legs or feet

1,680

2,040

+360

Back or neck

1,790

2,580

+790

Stomach, liver, kidney or digestion

80

80

0

Heart, blood, blood pressure, or circulation

180

220

+40

Chest or breathing

110

130

+20

Skin conditions and severe disfigurement

10

10

0

Difficulty in hearing

4,240

4,740

+500

Difficulty in seeing

3,940

4,330

+390

Difficulty in speaking

50

60

+10

Learning disability

1,320

1,460

+140

Progressive illness

1,470

1,650

+180

Dyslexia

2,350

3,000

+650

Epilepsy

880

980

+100

Diabetes

120

150

+30

Mental health conditions

670

870

+200

Cerebral Palsy

360

400

+40

Spina Bifida

80

90

+10

Other

2,640

3,140

+500

TOTAL

22,760

27,020

+4,260

Types of support

Assessments by themselves are increasingly popular, as is the provision of a support worker. Aids and equipment are also a high contender.

Type of adjustment

October 2013

January 2014

Activity

Adaptation to premises

20

30

+10

Adaptation to vehicles

60

110

+50

Communication support at interview

100

180

+80

Miscellaneous

20

30

+10

Miscellaneous with cost share

10

10

0

Travel in work

970

1,030

+60

Special aids and equipment

1,250

2,680

+1,430

Support worker

10,680

12,090

+1,640

Travel to work

10,450

11,300

+850

Access to Work Assessment

2,170

4,410

+2,240

TOTAL

25,710

31,860

+6,150

Stat of the day: Supermarket website and app accessibility

By Angela Matthews

Here we are in 2014… Happy New Year!

Just before we all went on our Christmas break last year, AbilityNet released a report on the accessibility of supermarket websites and apps. As highlighted in the table below, the research shows that Tesco had the highest website accessibility ‘health score’, Ocado’s app was rated the best, and Morrison’s website had the highest percentage of ‘failed’. The table below shows a summary of the results.

Anything over 40 % means that the site is ‘useable’ but may still present difficulties. Three stars is “base level”, and two stars indicates “below minimum requirements”.

 

Tesco

Sainsburys

Asda

Morrisons

Ocado

Health score

47 %

46 %

39 %

39 %

40 %

Failed

8.7 %

6 %

11.8 %

12.8 %

11.6 %

Website star rating

3

2.5

2.5

2

2.5

App star rating

3.5

2

2

N/A

4

The report also states that, “In the UK there are 11.2 million people with a disability. There are estimated to be 1.6 million who are registered blind, 1.5 million with cognitive difficulties, a further 3.4 million people who are otherwise IT disabled and 6 million that have dyslexia. The total spending power of these groups is now estimated at £120 billion a year.”

You can read the full report here.

Stat of the day: Hearing loss and dementia in the over 70s

By Angela Matthews

A few statistics related to this morning’s news story about the man who was deaf but was believed by hospital staff to have dementia. Although, as I understand, this man did not actually have dementia, the story reminded me of a report by Action on Hearing Loss which looks at people with hearing loss or deafness who also have other long-term conditions. There are two main elements that interested me from Action’s figures:

  • Hearing loss, deafness, and dementia: 316,000 people over the age of 70 in the UK have both hearing loss and dementia. More effective management of this issue is estimated to save the economy £28 million per year. This would be done by ensuring access to effective communication and proper assessments which could help to delay care home admissions, prevent delayed diagnoses of dementia, and prevent acute hospital admissions.
  • Number of BSL users and interpreters: As per the last Census (in 2011), 22,000 people said that British Sign Language (BSL) was their “main” language and the 2009/10 GP Patient Survey said that 125,000 people use BSL (the difference with the latter being that BSL may not be their “main” language). The last reported figure of registered BSL interpreters that I am aware of is from May this year at a total of 800 in the UK.

Thinking about these two points together, it would therefore be interesting to look at the age distribution of BSL users as an indicator of what “effective communication” for the over-70s group might include or look like.

 

Stat of the day: Disability-smart Barclays

By Angela Matthews 

Some interesting figures that I’ve pulled directly from a newspaper article today. The article is about how seriously banks are taking disability.

The statistics are from Barclays as per September of this year. Out of their 22 million customers:

  • 15,343 have requested large print;
  • 1,511 have requested audio versions;
  • 1,234 are using Braille print;
  • 600 are using high-visibility debit cards.

I thought those figures were interesting as we have sometimes had discussions on the advice line with members asking if the numbers of people needing these types of adjustments are “not very many”.

You can read the full article here.

Stat of the day: Mental health in the legal profession

By Angela Matthews

The following statistics come from a study conducted by Lawcare, a support charity for the legal profession, earlier this year. They asked over 1,000 legal professionals including lawyers, barristers and legal executives in the UK about their experiences of stress in their workplaces. The following are some of the statistics:

  • 75 per cent of lawyers are more stressed now than they were five years ago;
  • 70 per cent said that their working environment was stressful;
  • 63 per cent felt that they are not working to the standard that they want to achieve;
  • 47 per cent occasionally felt at ‘breaking point’;
  • 45 per cent said they do not get enough support;
  • 31 per cent drink more than the recommended units of alcohol;
  • 14 per cent take prescription drugs each day to help cope with stress.

Reasons cited for stress included:

  • Heavy workload;
  • Poor management;
  • Not feeling appreciated;
  • Unattainable targets;
  • Long hours;
  • Poor pay;
  • Job insecurity.

Lawcare’s press release said, “Lawyers are, as a rule, high achievers who have high expectations of themselves. They do, therefore, have to be careful that they do not become stressed as a result of trying to live up to those expectations.”

I thought I should end on a positive note – 45 per cent of respondents said that, despite it being stressful, where they work is friendly. But then I thought that’s around 550 legal professionals who are working in an environment that they think is unfriendly. So maybe that’s not so positive after all. So, instead, I’m going for… it’s nearly Christmas!