Firms ‘pressured to top-up NHS care’ says south

Mike Blake
Mike Blake
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A report has revealed that almost half of workers in the south east believe their employers are expected to provide for their health in order to top up NHS services.

Around 49 per cent of people asked believe that UK businesses are under pressure to top up NHS care.

The study of 1,123 workers was carried out by the Willis Towers Watsons’ Health & Benefits team. The team is part of the larger solutions firm and works to minimize levels of sickness and absence, helping clients to cut the cost of employee illness and retain good staff.

The business found that opinion is strongest among younger workers. The report revealed that 58 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds believe businesses are being asked to carry more of the health burden.

Campaigns such as the government-led Public Health Responsibility Deal encourages employers to play a more active role in their employees’ wellbeing. The drive is said to have had mixed success, as less than half (45 per cent) of employees in the south east questioned claimed that their employers look out for the health of their staff.

Director at Willis Towers Watson Health & Benefits Mike Blake said: ‘These results suggest a large number of workers are increasingly turning to their employer to fund health services that they feel may not be available to them within the public health system.

‘Employers may view this as an opportunity to boost employee satisfaction and retention by attempting to plug any gaps in the provision of treatment.

‘Official figures recently showed waiting lists for routine operations such as hip and knee surgery at their highest for a decade. Businesses can position themselves as responsible employers by offering benefits that accelerate access to care and support healthier lifestyles.’