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Why now is the time to invest in healthcare for your employees

With NHS waiting lists currently stretching into years, there's never been a better time to offer private healthcare to your business, and here's why.

Our NHS is under pressure as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to extend waiting times for routine appointments and surgery. The NHS has had to make significant adjustments to lead times in order to cope with predicted and actual demand on services from coronavirus patients.

Benenden Health recently examined the impact that COVID-19 has had on businesses, the healthcare system and the people at the heart of UK organisations. The need for timely health assistance – both physical and emotional – has never been so great. With waiting lists for routine appointments currently stretching into years, rather than months, it’s clear that employers and individuals must look at alternatives to keep well and to allow the NHS to provide the most vital services as it navigates uncertain waters.

Why is the NHS struggling to cope?

The NHS and its people have been our country’s saviour in the continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, its support has come at a cost to its own health. With frontline workers overburdened, waiting lists are only getting longer, for both physical and mental health referrals.

Waiting lists are extended because the NHS has to play catch-up with patients whose care was put on hold to attend to coronavirus referrals during the first wave of the pandemic. For some patients, this delay has meant that their case is now more serious and in need of more help. Other patients have voluntarily overlooked their needs, whether through fear of catching the coronavirus or because they felt that they could wait and not overload the system. These patients are now catching up with their delayed needs, presenting themselves and adding to the list in what was simply delaying the inevitable.

The NHS is a wonderful institution and resource, but it’s going to need support to continue in its battle to stand tall. The answer could well lie in private healthcare provision, particularly when offered by employers to team members who couldn’t necessarily afford it themselves.

How private healthcare can support the NHS right now

Private healthcare should not be seen as an opposing entity to NHS-provided services. Used wisely, ethical providers can alleviate the burden on the NHS in many cases. To illustrate this, our Business Healthcare solution provides businesses with access to things such as private prescription and diagnosis appointments, private hospital appointments and a counselling service. In doing so, we allow people to look after their physical and mental health and wellbeing, whether they are keeping themselves well, having a concern investigated or seeking intervention. And it doesn’t have to be expensive either, Benenden Health costs just £11.90 per month for each employee.

Keeping well reduces the likelihood of hospital visits and stays, which, at a bigger picture level, mitigates impact on the NHS. Similarly, employees that benefit from private healthcare attend to health issues when they are relatively minor, because the barrier to access help isn’t a problem. In turn, this can prevent a minor issue from escalating into a more serious health complication.

Mental Health charity Mind has warned of a “second pandemic”, which is transpiring as mental health referrals to the NHS reach an all-time high. These referrals are from patients and NHS workers who are experiencing symptoms from working frontline that have been compared to PTSD. If your people can access the appropriate support for their mental health and wellbeing for the pandemic, they will arguably be looked after in a more complete and timely way, whilst lightening the load on one of the most oversubscribed areas of the NHS right now.

Bob Andrews, CEO of Benenden Health, explains that : “a privately-provided health package could significantly help people in a time of need, providing a safety blanket – rather than a competing service – for when the NHS is under strain. To be most effective, the NHS and private healthcare should work harmoniously together to the benefit of the nation’s health”.

A highly desirable benefit

Healthcare still ranks at the very top of the benefits most sought after by employees. During times when so much is uncertain, from health to finances to job security, it’s very easy to see why. Knowing that you will be supported and looked after when you need it most is a huge weight off everyone’s shoulders.

The drive behind private healthcare for businesses, particularly during times of crisis such as a global pandemic, isn’t solely to make people better: it’s to keep them well. Healthy employees are happier, more focused and give more to their work. Healthcare is a strong offering in your employee benefits package that will reduce absenteeism and the phenomenon of “presenteeism”, where people show up to work unwell, potentially passing illness on to other people and being distracted and effectively absent. The upshot from this is that if your team feels that their wellbeing is looked after, they will feel less distracted in their day-to-day duties, and give more to their job.

In this way, private healthcare as an employee benefit is an investment in your people. Deloitte conducted research last year that focused on mental health and wellbeing and told us in summary: “for every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions they get £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover”. We can only imagine that the “return on investment” in this illustration would be even higher this year.

Implementation is easy and quick

Right now, we understand that the thought of selecting and implementing appropriate private healthcare might seem daunting and just too much of a big “to-do” to put on the list. It doesn’t need to be this way. Benenden Health can support you in structuring your benefits package, including robust healthcare provision. We work with you to signpost all of the support on offer to your team, and can provide material to help with this. What’s more, we understand that employee benefits aren’t a static picture. Once in place, our reporting allows you to monitor usage and uptake of our services, to determine which ones are most in demand, allowing you to tweak your overall proposition and keep looking after your people to the highest standard possible.

The benefits of our approach

With Business Healthcare from Benenden Health, you and your people will benefit from:

  • 24/7 GP service

  • Private prescription service

  • Mental health helpline

  • Physiotherapy

  • Private diagnosis

  • Private treatment

  • National diagnostic clinics and treatment hospitals.

Our package is substantial and our approach is holistic, so your team will be looked after – and will feel supported. The benefits of choosing us don’t stop there. We are set up to help employers make their healthcare journey simple and fuss-free, whether starting it for the first time or transitioning from another provider. This means:

  • No exclusions for existing conditions

  • No medical questionnaires

  • Healthcare for all, with all employees covered for the same low, monthly cost of just £11.90 per employee.

Find out more

For more information, speak to one of our friendly team, on 0808 296 5959 or via email at