The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has reviewed half a decade of statistics about the health of its members and identified that just three conditions make up over half of the initial referrals to its medical care and advice service FSB Care. These conditions are:
- orthopaedic issues relating to the musculoskeletal system (35%)
- mental health issues (17%); and
- cancer (6%)
FSB, which is the UK’s biggest business group, also warns that stress is often underlying or an accompanying factor when physical conditions present, and so the number of people supported for mental health issues is more acute than data shows.
Offering the small business community increased advice and resources relating to wellbeing to prevent illness has been a recent focus for FSB.
Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: “Being ill and needing to take time off work is a huge fear for anyone running their own business. Nobody can wave a magic wand or promise an elixir but our members are guaranteed that there will be a medical expert on the end of the phone who can support them through difficult times when they need it.”
Small business owners are just as susceptible as everyone else to musculoskeletal disorders, according to Christine Husbands of RedArc, the service provider of FSB Care: ”Too many hours spent slumped in front of a computer and a too-sedentary lifestyle caused by long working hours can lead to such problems. Added to the fact that stress can increase our sensitivity to pain, it’s easy to see why orthopaedic issues are top of the reasons why FSB members look for support.”
Business owners present with all the same issues and illnesses as many of the rest of the population but the difference is that they usually have less time to deal with them, which in turn means things can quickly escalate. Small business owners are particularly reluctant to go for early health checks and often have difficultly coming to terms with how they will manage their condition and their business. It can be those who seem to be the most robust or those who are putting on the best front that actually need the most support.