Tackling sore backs

The Northumberland federation of Age Concern has introduced a healthcare cash plan that offers residential-based workers money back on treatment for sore backs. The HealthSure cash plan is jointly funded by Age Concern, Northumberland and its 300 employees – each pay £1 per week.

Staff get cash back on dental and optical treatments as well as contributions toward the cost of physiotherapy. Brian Fishwick, deputy chief executive of Age Concern Northumberland, said: "It gets staff back to work quicker because they can afford to see a therapist.

As we are a charity, we’re coming from a low base and [the cash plan] was one of a range of non-wage options put to staff." The policy offers a subsidy of around £100. Children are included although there is an extra cost for partners.

Around 30% of staff have opted to buy a policy. Staff with more than five years service have also been given three extra days of holiday. Age Concern is a national charity with around 400 independent federation affiliates.