WORKERS in the South-West suffer in silence rather than admit health concerns to their boss, a survey has found.

New research from Aviva UK Health reveals that just 2% of employees would approach their boss with a health concern while 12% of employees think admitting to health concerns could affect their work prospects.

By comparison 53% say they would unburden themselves to their partner and 32% would speak to the family doctor.

Although over one in five employees (22%) state this is just a matter of safeguarding their privacy, the research portrays a worrying distance between employer and employee where 2% of employees think admitting to health concerns could affect their work prospects and 17% claim they simply don’t trust their boss. Employers, by contrast, are convinced that they are doing all they can to nip potential problems in the bud.

Around 45% claim to make a point of identifying any employee issues and 67% say they operate an open door policy. But, while employers do seem to be taking positive steps to tackle health issues through the introduction of benefits such as private health insurance, group income protection and confidential helplines, they are doing little to communicate that the support services are available and the worrying employee responses suggest that their efforts may still be falling wide of the mark.

Dr Doug Wright, principal clinical consultant at Aviva UK Health, said: “It’s good to see that employers recognise the importance of having an open door policy when it comes to their employees’ health and wellbeing, but we want to make them aware of the worrying disconnect between their perception and the reality to help them take steps to tackle the issues.

“The breakdown in communication between employers and their staff means that health risks such as stress in the workplace are not being effectively managed.

"Lack of employee engagement will also hinder an employer’s ability to intervene early and offer their employees the right support at the right time.”