Susan Gee: Can employers’ healthcare benefits fill the gap between private and NHS services?

susan gee

Offering employee benefits to support access to private healthcare can be cost-effective for employers in the UK, given the demands and waiting times on the NHS.

While private healthcare services can be more expensive than NHS services, the benefits of reduced waiting times and improved access to care can have a positive impact on employees’ health and wellbeing, which can lead to reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and lower healthcare costs in the long term.

Employers can negotiate preferential rates with private healthcare providers, making private healthcare more affordable for employees. Offering a range of options, such as private medical insurance (PMI) plans or health savings accounts, can help employees manage the costs of private healthcare.

It is important for employers to carefully consider their options and assess the costs and benefits of each approach, taking into account the needs of their employees, their budget, and the demands and waiting times on the NHS. By working with healthcare providers and carefully planning their employee benefits strategy, employers can offer cost-effective access to private healthcare that supports the health and wellbeing of their employees.

At Yorkshire Water, we have refreshed and expanded our employee benefits, and we offer a comprehensive range of services to support physical and mental health. Benefits are flexible so the employee can choose what works for them and their families.

We have an employee assistance programme (EAP) that operates for 24 hours over 365 days; the service, provided by Westfield Health, offers confidential advice on medical, legal and domestic issues and also provides instant access to qualified counsellors.

In addition, we have a private health insurance and a Westfield Health cash plan, health screening with Bupa, and an online virtual GP service that operates 24/7 and can be accessed by phone, video and messages and also includes private prescriptions, open referrals and secondary medical opinions.

Sign up to our newsletters

Receive news and guidance on a range of HR issues direct to your inbox

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We also offer gym discounts, critical illness insurance, life assurance, and other benefits, such as pension advice, low-cost loans via a credit union, childcare vouchers, restaurant cards, instant vouchers and discounts, travel cards, and a bikes-for-work scheme.

Susan Gee is head of occupational health and wellbeing at Yorkshire Water