How private health insurance can help you beat NHS waiting times and increase productivity

March 2022
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Providing private health insurance for your employees is not only a valuable benefit for your staff, but your business too.

NHS waiting lists have been a long-standing issue, but the pandemic has added even more pressure to the health service.

In November 2021, the waiting list for hospital treatment in England hit a record six million; a rise of almost 50% since the pandemic started.

Following the suspension of routine surgery during certain stages of the pandemic, more than 300,000 patients have been waiting more than a year for treatment. Of course, these numbers are simply adding to pressures that were already apparent before the pandemic began.

The chart below provides a stark visual of the scale of the problem.

Source: BBC using NHS England, latest data for November 2021

Earlier this month, the prime minister warned that waiting lists would increase before they started to fall. With ministers now encouraging people who perhaps chose to stay away from the NHS during the pandemic to come forward for treatment, things are bound to get worse before they can gradually improve.

While it’s understandable that multiple lockdowns and the pressure of treating those severely ill with coronavirus forced the NHS to cancel or postpone non-urgent treatment for thousands of patients, the waiting list problem has been hanging around since 2016. 

In fact, the waiting list rose consistently between 2012 and 2019. Since early 2021 it has simply risen more quickly.

The 18-week target for treatment has not been met since 2016 (1)
Lengthy NHS waiting times and cancellations of non-urgent procedures and appointments mean that more employees are likely to continue to find it difficult to receive the treatment they require. 

This delay could result in a sense of uncertainty. Couple this with the potential for suffering unnecessarily prolonged illness and it becomes increasingly likely that the stress will begin to take a toll on their mental health.

All of this will have a knock-on effect for businesses. Prolonged sickness absence will inevitably affect productivity. 

Research from Vitality, in 2019, found that:

  • The UK economy lost almost £92 billion because of ill-health keeping workers away from the workplace
  • British businesses lost an average of 38 working days per employee to physical and mental health related absence and presenteeism
  • Productivity is declining – in 2014, only 23 working days were lost per employee.

Private Healthcare for your employees can help keep your workforce healthy

Set up company private health insurance and you can support your employee’s health and wellbeing and reduce absence in the workplace. 

By providing access to private health care, you can help your staff mitigate the issues of NHS waiting times and allow them the opportunity to get a diagnosis and treatment sooner.

Giving your employees a way to quickly access health services when they need it most can help them get back on their feet. With the ability to recover sooner, they’ll return to work quicker than may have been possible if they were reliant on the NHS for treatment.

Benefits of private health insurance for you and your employees

Benefits for your team:

  • Quicker access to healthcare services with shorter waiting lists and waiting times
  • Regular health reviews
  • Support for mental and physical health.

Benefits for your business:

  • Improve employee engagement 
  • Attract and retain the right employees
  • Reduce the financial impact of sickness absence.

How we can help 
Staff absence and illness is a significant cost for all employers. Private health insurance is just one of several employee benefits that you can provide to help support the physical and mental wellbeing of your workforce. 

Our experts will talk you through the health care benefits you could provide and help you decide on an appropriate healthcare and wellbeing strategy to suit the needs of your business and employees.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so we start by listening to you and understanding your problems and needs. Next, we source the benefit package that best meets your requirements and solves your employees’ healthcare and wellbeing needs.

We will work in partnership with you to achieve the right balance between cost, service, and benefits to deliver an effective health and wellbeing strategy. And help you attain and keep your team healthy and engaged.
Get in touch
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help support you and your employees, please get in touch. Email or call us on 0800 055 6585.

(1), NHS waiting-list backlog will take years to clear.

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