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Survey reveals that half of all workforces reliant on the NHS for treatment this winter

Research* undertaken by national intermediary Partners& in September suggests that just 1 in every 7 employers provide all their employees with access to private healthcare treatments

A survey of senior HR and Finance experts suggests that many workforces remain heavily reliant on the National Health Service (NHS) for treatment, despite the NHS currently facing a record waiting list of more than seven million people.

The research was undertaken by national intermediary Partners& in September and reveals that just 15% of employers provide all workers with access to private healthcare treatments.  Exactly half (50%) of the employers questioned were reliant on the NHS to support at least some (35%) or most (15%) of their workforce should employees require medical treatment.

A further 20% of employers were seemingly unworried about the impact of NHS waiting lists this winter given that their organisation had previously experienced very low sickness absence rates.


Steve Herbert, Wellbeing and Benefits Director at Partners& said: “The NHS performed heroically throughout the pandemic, but the sad truth is that the service was already stretched even prior to Covid-19’s arrival.  It follows that – for the moment at least – the NHS is struggling to return to acceptable levels of service.  This is clearly worrying for any employee that may be in need of medical treatment in the winter ahead.”


Partners& also highlight that this issue could lead to employees being absent for weeks or months whilst they await treatment, meaning that employers may well be facing a further headwind to their efficiency and productivity numbers.

The same research also revealed that employees at 4 in every 10 employers (41%) were reliant on local GP surgeries to access NHS services.


Herbert continued:

“If the waiting lists were not worry enough, there are increasing reports of people being unable to secure appointments with their family doctor quickly and at a convenient time.  This adds yet another barrier to even reaching those NHS waiting lists, lengthening the time from initial symptoms to diagnosis and then corrective treatment. 

 The reality is that every day lost to illness damages the employer’s productivity further.  This is the very last thing employers – or indeed the wider United Kingdom – needs as we face the Bank of England’s predicted 2-year recession.”


Partners& suggest that employers should promote any private healthcare options they have in place to ensure usage, and point to their survey which found that just 2% of employers regularly remind their employees of the remote GP services on offer.  This is an oversight that could result in lower-than-expected usage and delays in treatment.


Herbert concluded:

“We would encourage employers to revisit their benefits offering to check that they are not overlooking options that would help employees bypass the dual challenges of GP appointments and those NHS waiting lists. 


Many employers will be pleasantly surprised to find that their existing employee benefits package might already include elements such as remote GP services, and others can implement a new scheme for a very modest cost.  There are also plenty of options to control the costs of group private healthcare offerings, a benefit that is much sought after by workers and which also speeds the recovery and return to work of employees.”


Please visit the Partners& website for details of remote GP and group private healthcare consultancy services.


*The Research was undertaken at the Partners& Employment Webinar on the 8th September 2022 amongst an audience of more than 160 senior Human Resources (HR), Finance, Payroll, and C-suite attendees.



About Partners&

Partners& is a Chartered insurance broker providing specialist insurance, employee benefits, risk management and claims advice to businesses and private clients. As a next generation insurance advisory business, Partners& combines the best traditions of broking, such as technical advice and client service, with modern thinking and intelligent use of technology, to enhance the client experience and create a dynamic workplace for its talented team. The company recently received two awards, Best Diversity & Inclusion Programme and Best UK Start Up at the 2021 UK Broker Awards.