Just 18% of employers provide urology support for their male employees according to new research1. Employers are being warned that those not addressing this will pay a high price in terms of the health and wellbeing of their male employees and those who were assigned male at birth. With one in two people2 suffering a urological issue during their lifetime, employers have a great opportunity to provide support: if symptoms are left untreated they can lead to embarrassment and anxiety, causing staff to disengage and take time off sick.
The term urology covers the parts of the body that produce, store and remove urine, and in men, also those involved in sexual function. The company explains that it is a myth that urology problems are an issue solely for older men and those beyond working age. While cancer of the associated organs is often found in men over forty, many conditions including low testosterone can begin as early as the 20s with many others prevalent in men’s 30s.
Helen Lake, Director of Men’s Health, Peppy said: “Urological problems can affect employees in a very personal way and affect inter-personal relationships too. They are often the types of conditions that men do not want to admit to themselves let alone share with their partner, and so rather than confront the problem, situations are avoided, especially intimate moments. When health matters are not dealt with, not only can the condition itself deteriorate but this, in turn, can affect mental health, which is when an employer may start to notice that an individual is not quite themselves.”
How can workplace support help?
Men’s NHS health checks at 40 are not guaranteed and given the early presentation of some conditions, may not be timely. And although prostate cancer is the biggest cause of cancer in men and the most diagnosed cancer in the UK, there is no national screening programme. However, given men are much less likely than women to take time off to resolve health issues anyway, in-work support can tackle these issues.
Helen Lake continued: “By providing urology support via the workplace, employers empower men to seek support – which importantly doesn’t necessarily require the forethought to book a GP appointment ahead of time or ask a line manager for time off. Having efficient access to support can also increase utilisation rates as men are more likely to take action when they are symptomatic.”
Employers risk losing some of their most talented and experienced senior staff through illness or even death if they don’t address urology issues. In addition, those employees who remain in the workplace will be happier and healthier if support is available and accessible. Employers will also experience fewer claims on health and wellbeing benefits and see less absence when they offer support. Employers can ensure employees are aware of resources available via reputable organisations, such as The Urology Foundation, as well as putting in place access to specialist support.
Helen Lake concluded: “Employers may find that offering support via an app or online platform is most effective in terms of getting men engaged and supported in their healthcare as it is confidential, discrete, and efficient. However, regardless of the delivery method, it’s clear that workplace support for men’s urology issues needs to become more of the norm rather than the exception.”