How businesses are affected by record NHS waiting lists
Posted on 19th December 2022
At the end of September 2022 there were over 7million people waiting to start NHS treatment in England. With over half of employers relying on the NHS for some or all treatment if their employees need it, the wider economic implications are significant. Only 15% of companies provide access to private healthcare treatment for all their employees.
We decided to look at how this situation is affecting individual employees and businesses.
Who’s waiting on the waiting lists
The current waiting list figures are the highest since records began in August 2007. More people than ever are waiting over 12 hours for an A&E bed although almost seven out of 10 people are seen within four hours. Cancer diagnosis and treatment is taking longer, over 400,000 people have been waiting for more than 52 weeks to begin routine hospital treatment and over 2,200 have been waiting for over two years.
The problem is made worse by the fact that some people are remaining in hospital although they could go to another healthcare facility or return home with the right support.
How are employers affected?
A survey of HR and finance professionals found that around two out of 10 employers who have previously had low sickness absence rates aren’t too worried about NHS waiting lists this winter.
However, the NHS was under extreme pressure during the pandemic and is still working hard to achieve target service levels. Winter flu, a possible further outbreak of coronavirus, and other illness and injuries shouldn’t be ignored. If employees need medical treatment this winter they could be absent for significantly longer than you would expect.
The same survey found that four out of 10 employers rely on access to NHS GPs if their employees are unwell. However, people are increasingly reporting they are unable to make an appointment with their family doctor to fit in with their working day. This is causing further delays in receiving a diagnosis and treatment which could lead to worsening conditions and additional longer term absences.
Depending on employees’ health and treatment needs they could be absent from work for weeks or months, affecting business efficiency and productivity. As we anticipate a year-long recession employers need to do everything they can to maintain their business performance.
How private medical insurance can help
Employers can provide private healthcare options as an employee benefit and this can also help to make sure that any illness or injury is dealt with quickly. Employees can receive the treatment they need and return to work sooner.
It’s also important to make sure employees are aware of the services they can access. The survey found that only 2% of employers regularly reminded employees about remote GP services available to them, for example. However, this could help with early diagnosis and treatment.
If you don’t already offer health insurance for your employees it is something to consider this winter. If you already provide it, a thorough review could show you that your package already includes things like remote GP services which will be worth promoting across your company.
Find out more about private medical insurance for your employees
Private medical insurance offers a variety of benefits. It’s important to match your cover to your business needs. At Vida Insurance we offer whole of market advice based on your situation and requirements.
Please get in touch for an initial discussion.
Vida Insurance Advisors is a trading style of N and J Health & Protection Ltd, an Appointed Representative of The Right Mortgage Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales no. 12657007. Registered Address: 23 Russell Avenue, Bedford, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom, MK40 3TD.
Tagged as: NHS Waiting Lists
Share this post: