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Remote GP services highly valued by staff despite lockdown lifting

by Jackson B
  • [email protected] downloads up by 148% compared to Q1 2020 as employees continue to rely on remote GP services while remote working
  • In partnership with Square Health, Unum’s health and wellbeing app sees record demand 18 months after initial launch

Even with social restrictions continuing to ease, widespread demand for remote GP services shows no sign of letting-up. New figures from Unum show that from January to April this year, [email protected] downloads have more than doubled (up by 148%) compared with the same period in 2020.

Indeed, cases of mental ill health and other stress related issues still remain higher than before the pandemic[1]. Since July last year, remote appointments for mental health support have increased by 68% as the UK continues to feel the effect of Covid-19 and lockdown. And currently 82% of mental health support appointments requested by employees and their loved ones are for anxiety, stress, low mood, or depression.

However, the mental health of individuals is just one area that businesses should be keeping a close eye on as the potential end to lockdown nears. Physiotherapy appointments to treat shoulder, back and neck symptoms were up 50% between January and April this year – all areas that can be exacerbated by bad posture and working from home in a poor work set up. A recent survey found four in five (81%) of desk-based employees have developed musculoskeletal issues since switching to working from home in lockdown[2].

18 months after Unum first launched [email protected] in partnership with Square Health, over 12,000 appointments have been made through the health and wellbeing app to date. In part, this comes as employees and businesses continue to embrace technology to fast-track their access to remote medical services while some NHS facilities begin to manage the backlog of appointments created due to the pandemic last year.

 

Mark Till, CEO of Unum UK commented: “The record levels of signup to our [email protected] app so far this year tells us two things. Firstly, it proves the value of remote GP services amid the pandemic, and secondly that there are some areas to watch including mental health, musculoskeletal and the impact of long-covid ahead of any phased return to offices. By partnering with Square Health, we’re able to provide round-the-clock access to UK GPs while NHS services have been and in some areas are still strained. The future of workplace health and wellbeing is not yet clear especially while we transition into hybrid working. However, ensuring we are able to support the changing needs of staff is critical – particularly when navigating the recovery from last year”.

 

Square Health founder, Dr Bippon Vinayak, commented: “COVID has highlighted the value of digital solutions for the delivery of healthcare. The high level of adoption and overwhelming success of the [email protected] service is due to its ease of access and availability at the point of need – day or night. Customers value the ability to access key healthcare services from the convenience and privacy of their home and many will see this as their preferred route to everyday healthcare in the post-pandemic era.”

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