Wintertime is notorious for viruses and infectious illnesses. The early part of 2018 has seen a particularly nasty outbreak of flu, which figures suggest has been the worst in seven years. This puts a greater strain on health services, with NHS figures suggesting there has been a 40% increase in people visiting their GPs, partially due to these seasonal illnesses.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show an estimated 137.3 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK in 2016. This is equivalent to 4.3 days per worker. The healthcare sector can particularly feel the strain, with increased patient numbers, but also its own staff absences. This can be a particular problem for hospitals in maintaining critical care, where even routine operations can be affected.
Coping with absences
Staff absences can lead to confusion inside and outside the organisation. However, integrated communications can automatically direct enquiries to staff covering those who are away, whatever device or system they are using. An integrated communications system can also automatically escalate calls to more senior team members if required. In healthcare, important calls need to get through to the right person or department without delay, so these systems can provide a vital and expedient solution, despite staff sickness.
Because integrated communications systems are designed to aid swift contact between people at all times, they are perfect when staff are unexpectedly away. Every organisation needs to continue to function smoothly, whatever situation it faces. Well-designed integrated communications systems can help to manage inquiries and take some of the burden away from remaining staff, when support is needed most.