Buckinghamshire County Council has introduced its first voluntary healthcare benefits in response to staff feedback.
The council, which is in the process of introducing a total reward strategy, has introduced private medical insurance and access to a plan offered by not-for-profit provider Benenden Healthcare.
Gillian Hibberd, corporate director organisational development and HR, said: “It’s a scheme whereby your first point of call is the NHS but if they can’t treat you within a specified period then you automatically go into the Benenden process and to one of their hospitals to get private treatment. It is a really low-cost healthcare benefit.”
She added that the two options were intended to acknowledge employees’ different life stages. Whereas younger staff may not be as interested in private medical insurance, the fast-track nature of the Benenden Healthcare Scheme might appeal to them.
Changes to the benefits package are being communicated to staff via poster campaigns, leaflets, briefings, benefits fairs, while a new intranet site is also being developed. “At the moment, our intranet site is secure access only so you staff get into it from their own home email account, but we are developing a micro-site so that people can access it from home and order benefits from home too,” said Hibberd.