Healthcare Worsened in Last Year: Businesses key to employee health support

A recent study by YuLife, a technology-focused insurance firm dedicated to inspiring life, has revealed a concerning trend in the UK's healthcare standards. This research, conducted in partnership with YouGov, indicates a widespread perception of decline, with approximately 73% of UK adults believing healthcare standards have deteriorated throughout their lifetimes, including 55% who feel the decline has been significant. Moreover, 59% of adults in the UK perceive a worsening in healthcare standards over just the past year.

An unprecedented number of British adults are currently not working due to long-term health issues, and the NHS is grappling with a variety of challenges, ranging from extended waiting times to strikes by medical doctors. YuLife's recent report delves into the effects these issues are having on the public's views regarding the quality of healthcare they receive.

Only 12% of individuals believe the UK healthcare system gives precedence to preventative healthcare – measures taken to prevent health issues and medical conditions – over-reactive healthcare, which addresses problems and conditions only after they have arisen. A significant 85% of respondents admit they engage with the healthcare system 'only' or 'usually' when facing a health concern that requires attention.

“Most of us primarily interact with the healthcare system in a reactive manner – we visit our doctor when we have a problem that needs addressing,” said Sammy Rubin, CEO and Founder, YuLife. “However, many common medical conditions can be prevented by making simple and accessible lifestyle changes, like walking more or taking a few minutes to meditate every day. Healthcare in the UK needs to adopt a more proactive and preventative mindset in order to rectify many of the issues that affect our physical and mental health, impair our productivity, and damage our society.”

A vast majority recognise a link between enhanced employee health and workplace performance. Eighty-one percent believe that better physical health would boost employees' productivity, and 83% agree regarding mental health. This clear connection underlines why many think it's crucial for employers to aid their staff in maintaining both mental (74%) and physical (59%) health. Despite this, only 36% of individuals report receiving significant or moderate health support from their current employer, while a similar figure (35%) state they get minimal or no support at all.

“Businesses can and must play a key role in encouraging and incentivising their employees to adopt healthier habits,” continued Rubin. “Employers that invest in their employees’ mental and physical health reap rewards in the form of improved productivity and increased engagement and loyalty – a win-win for individuals, businesses, and society. With advances in technology now enabling businesses to analyse data and track which wellbeing initiatives are most effective for their employees, the time is ripe for every employer – large or small – to make a difference in getting the nation’s health back on track.”

The challenges confronting the NHS have led to an increased interest in private health insurance, yet 84% of individuals remain without such coverage. Among these, 60% cite affordability as the primary barrier to obtaining private health insurance, while 19% express a preference for relying on the NHS. Notably, two-thirds (66%) of those who identify cost as the obstacle would likely opt for private health insurance if it were within their financial reach. Furthermore, 22% consider the provision of private health insurance as one of the most critical steps an employer can take to enhance employees' health and wellbeing.