How Online GP Services Save SMEs Time and Money

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11/08/2020
6 mins

All employers know that workers perform their best and are at their most productive when they’re physically and mentally well. That’s why, when an employee requests time off for an appointment with their doctor, or asks to rearrange their work schedule to accommodate a medical appointment, management typically agrees.

After all, employee health and wellbeing is a priority if you’re to have a happy, productive workforce not blighted by presenteeism, where employees work through sickness despite not being able to work at full capacity, or absenteeism, where sickness renders an employee out of the workplace entirely.

How Remote GP Services Benefit SMEs

While larger companies are more easily able to flex to deal with brief employee absences or rearranged work schedules resulting from medical appointments, smaller companies often find it harder to do so.

This is because they have fewer employees who can take over the absent employee’s workload; when remaining workers try it can lead to stress and overwork for them, which only magnifies the issue the original absence creates.

Remote GP services provide your workers with easy and, most importantly, fast access to a doctor whenever they need it the most.

This includes evenings and weekends; most remote GP services make someone available 24 / 7 / 365.

The doctors can issue prescriptions if necessary, recommend further treatment and make onward appointments with specialists and consultants, just as if the employee were visiting their NHS GP in person.

GP Appointments Anytime, Anywhere

The difference is that, thanks to technology, the appointment can be taken anywhere the employee wants to take it. This might be in between jobs at the office in a quiet meeting room, for instance, saving the employee from having to come in late, leave early or otherwise rearrange their work schedule for the appointment.

Of course, with appointments available any time, it doesn’t have to take place during working hours at all if the employee is worried about finding a private space to speak at work, or would simply rather arrange an appointment while they’re in the comfort of their own home.

How Remote GP Services Help Employers…

For the employer, this means the employee doesn’t need to miss work for their appointment and so no productivity is lost. It also means other individuals don’t have to take on the workload of the employee with the appointment, however temporarily.

Another benefit to online GP services is the speed at which appointments are available. Nothing is more frustrating than being stuck in a call waiting queue with your GP’s receptionist only to be told you can have an appointment in 2 weeks.

Online GP services can arrange appointments as soon as within the hour in some cases, meaning the employee’s issue gets dealt with much sooner and potentially means they need less, if any, time off sick while awaiting an appointment with their NHS GP.

This saves both time and money for the employer while getting the employee the treatment they deserve faster, at a time that suits them.

How Do I Get Online GP Appointments for My Employees?

While there’s no standalone option that offers access to remote GP services, fortunately it’s a relatively common option with other employee benefits, especially Company Health Insurance.

While Health Insurance traditionally has started with an appointment with your NHS GP, who then makes an open referral for onward private treatment depending on the options you’ve selected, providers became increasingly aware of the length of time it was taking to get an NHS GP appointment in the first place.

As such, insurers looked to speed up this initial part of the process with the introduction of remote GP services. After all, Corporate Health Insurance is all about getting faster treatment for your workers so they can get back to work quicker than if they’d stuck with the NHS. This improves outcomes for your workers and saves you as the employer time and money.

While remote GP services have become the norm on Corporate Health Insurance policies, other employee benefits have started to follow suit.

Take AIG’s Smart Health, for example, which offers 24 / 7 access to a remote GP service alongside benefits such as mental health support and nutrition consultations to employees in need. Smart Health comes as standard with all Group Life Insurance and Group Income Protection policies.

Other options on the market include AXA’s Doctor@Hand, which offers anytime, anywhere access to GP appointments 24 / 7 / 365, and Aviva’s Digital GP service which, as well as offering remote GP appointments, also provides access to repeat and general NHS prescriptions with free home delivery.

With the marketplace for employee benefits being incredibly competitive, it’s likely that we’ll see more such services included on Group Risk policies going forward and therefore more opportunities for both employees and employers to benefit from this incredibly valuable service.

About Drewberry

Our goal is simple: to improve our clients’ financial wellbeing.

We help our clients take control of their finances by building lasting relationships where we support them to make informed decisions.

We provide financial advice services to individuals and businesses throughout the UK. Whether it’s setting up personal insurance to protect your lifestyle, managing your pensions, investments and other assets to improve your financial future or setting up employee benefits for a company, we’re here to help.

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