Medigold Health is one of the UK’s most trusted providers of occupational health and wellbeing solutions.

Accredited by the Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS), Medigold Health currently support over 20 clients in the rail industry and have worked with employers in the sector for over 20 years. Their dedicated rail team includes specialist doctors and account managers who understand the unique pressures of the sector.

The organisation is dedicated to helping employers keep their people in work, safe and well through a range of services including absence management, employee screening, alcohol and drug testing and support and specialist employee mental health and wellbeing services. Working with employers of all sizes, from blue chip companies to small and medium-sized enterprises, Medigold Health can tailor its services to provide bespoke solutions, to suit their clients’ specific needs.

Helping employers to look after their greatest asset
Medigold Health was set up in 1998 by Dr Mike Goldsmith, whose mission was to improve the world of work by helping organisations to look after their most valuable asset: their people. From humble beginnings and a team of just fi ve, the company has grown into a £33M business employing 560 staff across more than 60 locations from its headquarters in Queensbridge, Northampton.

With more than 2,000 clients looking after 3 million individual employees, Medigold Health employs over 200 occupational health clinicians running 100+ clinics across the UK. Always at the
forefront of innovation, they also operate the largest fleet of mobile screening units in the country, enabling them to carry out medicals and alcohol and drug tests on site, minimising employee downtime.

The organisation nevertheless remains true to its original values as a family business, with Mike’s son Alex Goldsmith now at the helm. Fifteen years after joining the company from a career in investment banking in 2006 to help his father during a period of ill health, Alex is now CEO, and he is still as committed as ever to the employee wellness sector and continues to find its
positive effect on the wider community extremely rewarding.

The Medigold Health Group’s corporate health services are designed to deliver:

  • A better understanding of workforce health.
  • Improved intelligence, enabling informed decision-making.
  • The ability to shape organisations using robust data.
  • The power to boost the wellbeing of employees.
  • Greater efficiencies leading to reduced costs.

We need to talk about alcohol and drug misuse

Perhaps one of the less talked about but more concerning issues facing employers since the start of the pandemic has been the worrying rise in alcohol and drug use and the impact that this is having on workforce wellbeing and safety at work, particularly in more safety critical industries, such as rail and construction.

Medigold Health offers market-leading alcohol and drug testing and support services through its specialist Hampton Knight division, which has over 21 years’ experience in this field. It continues to invest in technology and systems that will help to streamline the process of testing and reporting, rolling out the latest testing equipment and providing advice to employers on policy and ways to support those with substance dependency issues.

Scot Smith, CEO of Hampton Knight said: ‘There has never been a more important time to focus on your employees’ wellbeing. Th e increase in problem drinking and substance misuse during the pandemic has been well documented. The latest statistics on drug use indicate that over a quarter of a million individuals are treated for substance misuse annually in the UK. In fact, the UK has one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in Europe.

‘Alcohol misuse alone costs the UK around £7.3 billion a year through absenteeism, lost productivity, and workplace accidents. The cost to society, including the impact on the NHS and policing, is even greater at £22 billion.

‘Statistics suggest that 75 per cent of those seeking help with alcohol are in work, so it is perhaps no surprise that 40 per cent of accidents at work involve the use of alcohol.’

‘Morning after effect’ impacts safety

‘One of the most significant risks in this area is the impact of the ‘morning after effect’. As it takes the body one hour to process a single unit of alcohol, consuming large measures in high volumes can mean that employees remain above the minimum legal limit for driving the next day. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic, with many more individuals drinking at home. Over
5,500 drivers failed the roadside breath test last year between the hours of 6am and 12pm.

‘Alcohol and drug misuse can have a significant impact in the workplace, often resulting in higher levels of absence and reduced performance and greatly increasing risks to health and safety. A robust and effective alcohol and drug testing policy can be a key component of ensuring safety in the workplace for everyone’.

Non-judgemental support reaps rewards

‘Hampton Knight advocates a proactive and constructive approach to managing the issue of substance misuse. We believe that any testing programme should be underpinned by a robust policy which seeks to educate and promote awareness and that employers should offer non-judgemental support to any employees who ask for help.

‘That’s why we provide an end-to-end solution, complementing our flexible alcohol and drug testing services with policy review guidance, counselling and support services and relevant advice and training for managers on how to support individuals who have been identified as having a substance dependency, to help ensure that any issues are dealt with sensitively, fairly and effectively.

The impact on mental and health and wellbeing

Smith added: ‘Alcohol and drug misuse can disrupt spatial awareness, affect reaction times and lead to a lack of co-ordination, which can make accidents more likely. It can significantly impair employees’ ability to function safely and productively at work.

‘However, perhaps one of the most significant effects of drug and alcohol misuse is its impact on mental health. It is our belief that organisations should support employees who declare an alcohol or drug dependency to access the help and treatment they need. All organisations have a duty of care for the wellbeing of their employees, and it is much less disruptive and costly to support existing staff and get them the help they need than to dismiss them, and then re-hire and train new colleagues. Substance misuse is an illness and employees experiencing issues are entitled to support under the Equality Act 2010.

‘It is vital that we work to address the stigma associated with substance abuse because that is the only way to tackle the hugely detrimental impact of this situation. Hampton Knight can assist by providing initial guidance on how to manage the situation as sensitively as possible by arranging specialist assessment to determine the most appropriate treatment approach. We can also help to draw up a counselling contract between you and your employee and arrange one-to-one support via one of our associate counsellors.

‘Introducing alcohol and drug testing within the workplace starts with having a robust policy in place. Getting this right provides a solid foundation for processes and procedures that everyone can understand and follow. The policy needs to be clear and simple and must be communicated to all employees.’

To find out more about Hampton Knight’s alcohol and drug testing services, get in touch via the contact information below.

Tel: 0845 127 8888