Pharmacies workplace health MOTs to save lives and cut sickness cost

Pharmacies are working with HR teams to save lives and cut hours lost through sickness through workplace staff health MOTs.

Rowlands Pharmacy is extending its healthy living programme of Health and Wellbeing events at work across the UK, day and night to suit all shift patterns.


Rowlands alert staff to medical conditions like high blood pressure, which can trigger heart attacks, and it has averted medical emergencies for thousands, referring 11 per cent of staff to GPs over high readings.


Project developer Paul Hillan who runs the events said:


“More HR teams are booking us to run quick, simple, discreet, anonymous events which can be fun, yet pick up serious illness and increased visceral fat levels.  Many staff ignore their health and never see a GP. This is free for staff, done in company time, and cuts downtime.”


“Many people do not have symptoms or do not recognise them and are blissfully unaware of what may be a ticking time-bomb.


“High blood pressure is a silent killer. One guy who thought he was fine had such a high reading that we referred him straight to his GP, who diagnosed hypertension. He was off for seven weeks.  He worked in the warehouse doing strenuous furniture moving and this doubtless saved his life.”   


Rowlands has 500 pharmacies across the UK, 130 of them Elite outlets with extended specialist services. It was founded over 200 years ago.


Paul and the pharmacy staff go into client workplaces once or twice a year to run checks on everyone, covering blood pressure, cholesterol and body composition. During the flu season they drop in with flu vaccination clinics.  Staff can book 15-minute checks or just drop in.


Clients include Next, Jack Wills, ASOS, Pets at Home, Liverpool Football Club, police forces, universities, schools and local councils.


It is different, said Paul, because it is client-based and bespoke. They stage events at football stadiums, distribution centres, warehouses, offices and call centres.


“We go everywhere, any time,”

“We do 9 to 5 and we cover the nightshift,” 

“Night working brings its own health issues.”


Another crucial check is the metabolic age reading, which measures body composition, including weight, fat percentage, muscle mass, hydration level, metabolic age reading and body mass index, followed by healthy living advice.


Paul said:


“A 33-year-old guy had the reading of a 48-year-old. He thought he was healthy and looked it but then admitted he ate lots of takeaways. This wake-up call changed his lifestyle.


“We show staff how three steps – a sensible, balanced diet, more physical activity and regular body composition monitoring – makes them healthier and trimmer.”


It can also be a wake-up call for managers to make crucial changes, like withdrawing sugary drinks from canteens and vending machines.


Results are given to employees alone, unless there is a medical emergency and they allow their line manager to be told.


Paul compiles group health reports after each event, with a breakdown of outcomes for managers to work on. Spreadsheets build up a wider picture over the years.


Working closely with HR and occupational health managers, he helps them to lead by example by having their own health checks.  Paul said it’s rewarding for HR teams when staff report, “I’m a new person.”   “Workplaces can be health change-makers for people who may not have great access to healthcare.”


The Office of National Statistics reported 137 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK in 2016.


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Author: Editorial Team

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