Life Healthcare Group acquires 100% of Careways
Life Healthcare Group has acquired 100% of Careways, one of South Africa's leading employee wellness providers. The move strengthens the group's Life Occupational Health business by adding a wellness component for primary prevention of diseases.
Careways has a 28-year track record in the industry, having established the first employee assistance programme to corporates in South Africa. The company has since evolved offering both employee assistance and employee wellness programmes such as individual counselling, psychosocial risk assessments, medical assessments, lifestyle management, organisational consulting and training. It currently services 250,000 employees from various industry sectors through a national footprint which covers all nine provinces.
"Acquiring Careways is an important move for the group, as we are now in a position to offer the market an integrated health and wellness solution," says CEO of Life Healthcare, André Meyer.
Life Occupational Health is a provider of contracted on-site occupational and primary healthcare services to large employer groups in the commercial, industrial, mining and parastatal sectors, and to a government correctional services facility. It is the first South African organisation to have achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification in this field. It operates in on-site, off-site and mobile customer clinics throughout the country and provides services to approximately 240,000 employees.
"We believe that the integrated solution will result in better employee health and productivity returns at a low risk for clients. Together, the companies will potentially support some 500,000 employees across various industries in South Africa," says Dr Nilesh Patel, CEO Healthcare Services.
Lifestyle diseases increase
With statistics indicating a connection between employee health, productivity and absenteeism - Life Healthcare is focused on finding workable solutions with corporate South Africa to curb the trend highlighted in the last wave of insights from Stats SA. In the 2014 report it was noted that between 15-30% of staff are absent on any given day resulting in a R12 billion impact on the country's economy annually.
Meyer noted that the acquisition would result in the group being able to address one of the biggest health risks facing South Africans - lifestyle-related diseases, which are on the increase. Employees suffer more frequently from stress-related ailments and diseases because of the lack of a healthy diet and active lifestyle. For this reason, employee wellness initiatives have received more attention from organisations aiming to reduce the impact of these diseases on individuals and subsequently their ability to perform at work. As productivity remains a core concern for most organisations, the demand for sustainable employee wellness initiatives has shifted from a purely HR driven strategy to a business imperative.