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Viewpoint: Five things you need to know about the NHS and employee health

Increasing pressure on NHS resources and the squeeze on funding means employees face more limited services and potential delays in treatment if completely reliant on free health services for themselves and their families. And this, inevitably, means a knock-on effect for employers. But this is where employers can step up to the plate – and it makes the benefits and health and wellbeing support provided all the more crucial.

Here are five things you need to know about the NHS and employee health.


1. Limited early diagnosis

The NHS currently offers routine screening for three of the six most common forms of cancer (breast and cervical cancer, and only for the 60-74 year-old age group for bowel cancer). In addition, a quarter of cancers among elderly are diagnosed when people go to their local A&E – at which point it may well be too late for treatment to be effective. There is currently no standard service for lung, skin and prostate cancers, and this is one area where employers can add real value for their workforce. It’s good value for employers too; the limitation on health screening is one of the major reasons why cancer survival rates in the UK are the lowest in Western Eruope, and a lack of early diagnosis for serious conditions can mean longer periods of absence and treatment, higher medical insurance payouts, and losing staff to serious illness. 

2. A lack of access to new and more accurate tests

Useful new tests for common and serious health problems - such as the new ProstateCheck for early detection of prostate cancer - are not yet available for NHS patients. Nonetheless, the incidence of cancer continues to rise. Access to the latest approaches is not only important for saving lives; the anxiety caused by inaccurate test results can lead to serious psychological and physical health issues which could have been avoided.

3. Cost-saving diversions

Restrictions on funding can mean that GPs and doctors are under pressure to divert patients towards ‘cheaper’ options which have the potential to be less effective. This can prolong treatment, and reduce the chance of a positive outcome for the patient. The desire to reduce the threshold for referrals within the NHS also means that clinics are likely to get busier.

Full article is available on Health Insurance Daily: Five things you need to know about the NHS and employee health


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