Being suddenly struck down by illness or injury is a concern for employees and employers alike, so the news that NHS waiting lists are at their longest in six years will be unwelcome in workplaces across the country.
NHS England has revealed that, for the first time in three years, the NHS missed its target for 90 per cent of admitted patients to start treatment within 18 weeks, with the number of patients waiting for treatment rising to 2.89 million.
More than 30,000 were waiting longer than 18 weeks – an increase of almost half since 2010.
These delays in treatment for conditions that are often categorised as ‘non-urgent’ by the NHS, can increase sickness absence and place a heavy financial burden on employers, not to mention worry for the employee awaiting treatment.
As a responsible health insurer, our job at Westfield Health is to anticipate areas where healthcare provision may be under pressure and to develop products to complement NHS services, ensuring employees can access the treatment they need promptly and return to work healthy, sooner.
In 2012, we introduced our hospital treatment insurance in response to the pressures facing the NHS and in particular the issues surrounding waiting times.
It gives fast access to ‘non-urgent’ surgical and medical procedures such as a hernia, slipped disc or knee operation at an affordable price.
The scheme helps employers to manage staffing levels more effectively, while lowering costs and giving their staff peace of mind.
When combined with one of our corporate health cash plans, it provides a more continuous health package, covering everyday health cover, diagnostics and access to private surgery, as well as cover for post-operative treatments such as physiotherapy.
For employers, having a robust employee health and wellbeing strategy couldn’t be more important, especially when recent research found that 71 per cent of doctors believe local rationing of treatments or services in their area has increased since the Government’s NHS reforms came into force in England.
Taking more responsibility for staff health and wellbeing by ensuring staff can get prompt treatment will help employers to avoid prolonged periods of sickness absence and keep their workforce happy and healthy.
For more information about how Westfield Health can help your business manage the risks of a changing NHS, visit www.westfieldhealth.com or call 0845 602 1629.