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Healthy retirement out of reach for majority of UK workers

Just 9% of men and 16% of women can expect to reach retirement in good health.

A new report on the UK health system from think tanks IPPR and Future Health recommended an overhaul of the British health system  given the small percentage of workers who can currently expect to reach state retirement age (67 by 2028) in good health.

It called for an introduction of more long-term solutions, such as preventative medicine.

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The workplace, according to Chris Thomas,

Chris Thomas, report co-author and principal research fellow at the IPPRm said: “The work we do is vitally important to how long and well we live. 

“Poor occupational health standards can have immediate consequences, but precarious jobs, or chronic work-related stress, can also be damaging to our mental and physical health alike.”

There was a regional difference in the results, with men born into deprived areas expected to fall into ill health 20 years before their peers. 

Suzanne Marshall, head of clinical strategy at wellbeing and performance company GoodShape, said the statistics shocking. 

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “Being told that your health will be compromised by the time you retire is a stark realisation that things must change in how we prioritise health in the UK.”

She asked employers to take a holistic approach of monitoring, measuring, and evaluating sickness in the workplace.

She added: “We believe instilling a workplace culture that supports practices to identify and catch ill health at an early stage will facilitate faster intervention, quicker diagnosis, and an improved outcome.”

Bertrand Stern-Gillet, CEO at wellbeing provider Health Assured, advised employers to focus on three goals to give their employees the best chance at good mental and physical health: manager training, reducing stress and a solid employee assistance programme (EAP).

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Training on the menopause, mental health first aid, stress management, trauma, suicide awareness or nutrition can be a great tool."

EAPs, he added, can be a valuable lifeline: “When problems inevitably arise, it can be a lifeline if employees have somewhere to turn to.

"It’s confidential, and it’s a valuable clinical support system that can help you assess and address employees’ needs."

The IPPR and Future Health Sustainable healthcare report was published 14 June. Statistics for healthy life expectancy were calculated by the report's authors based on figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).