Colin Willis, Employee Benefits Director at Willis Wealth Management, a division of Willis Insurance and Risk Management, highlights the need for businesses to protect their employees in the case of illness by attaining Group Private Medical Insurance (PMI).

Waiting times in Northern Ireland have been a serious cause for concern over recent years. News channels are often saturated with stories of increased pressure on the National Health Service (NHS), overcrowding in hospitals and a shortage of staff across the board.

In some instances, patients are waiting extremely long periods of time for important surgical procedures and some of those requiring support from mental health services claim they are simply not being given the treatment they require due to the prioritising of only the most acute cases.

According to the most recently available figures published by the Department of Health, almost three quarters (73.2%) of patients were waiting more than nine weeks for a first consultant-led outpatient appointment at 30 June 2018, compared with 73.5% at 31 March 2018 and 71.6% at 30 June 2017.

Employers must ask themselves what they would do in the instance a member of their workforce became ill, and had to wait weeks, or even months, to receive medical attention.

Acquiring Group Private Medical Insurance offers employee’s immunity from the impact of NHS underfunding and the chronic shortage of doctors which has left the NHS in disarray.

A company’s workforce is without doubt its most valuable asset. When employees are without health insurance, they will wait significantly longer to receive treatment, which can often result in longer periods of absenteeism, and a negative impact on business operations.

Apart from offering staff a medical queue jump, PMI is also linked to improving company morale, and with an attractive remuneration package it is a compelling way to recruit and retain the most talented employees. Offering extra peace of mind – cover can be extended to include family members and when and where a staff member decides to receive treatment is at their discretion.

It is a common misconception that PMI is only for large organisations, however it is important for business owners to remember that the smaller the company, the greater the impact of worker absence. PMI cover is available for companies of all sizes, from two employees to larger corporate schemes.

PMI does not have to be an unaffordable commodity. Seeking professional guidance allows for thorough research into the medical insurance market, to ensure that the business receives cover which is both flexible and works within its budget.

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