Archive for 2010

OFT to Investigate Private Healthcare Market

Dec 15, 2010

I don’t know whether this is down to Geoffrey Glazer at FIPO lobbying the House of Lords or as a result of Circle’s Ali Parsa’s complaints mentioned in a Shandwell post recently –  could be a combination of both.

It’s been a long time coming, but its going to happen. 

I think there will be some very interesting findings for employers.

Latest from Health Work and Wellbeing

Dec 14, 2010

Since the general election, the Health Work and Wellbeing (HWWB) team have been pretty quiet about their future plans and objectives. Remember it is made up of representation from DWP, DoH, HSE, Scottish Government and The Welsh Assembly. They have recently published a report outlining baseline indicators on health and wellbeing reflected in surveys of both employees and employers. I don’t know who they surveyed, but some of the responses indicate that their messages are not hitting home. (Continue reading …)

Circle to Build another Hospital

Dec 09, 2010

Having opened its new hospital in Bath earlier this year – and set up a challenge to existing private hospital relationships with private medical insurers – Ali Parsa’s Circle has secured £50m funding from the BP pension fund to build another facility in Reading. It’s due to open autumn 2012.

Circle intend to build 30 hospitals across the UK in the coming years which is pretty ambitious. They may have an advantage over older private hospital stock, in that each hospital can be designed to meet the challenges of increased support for the NHS and new clinical developments. Only time will tell.

Breast Screening Saves Lives

Dec 02, 2010

Further to my post that I am going to be doing some work with BreastHealth UK, only yesterday, the media ran a story quoting cancer specialists from The London Breast Institute. Their research has shown that 1,000 lives would be saved if women were offered annual mammograms from the age of 40 rather than 50 which is the current entry age for the NHS breast screening programme.

Only 2% of the 7,000 women in their 40s diagnosed with breast cancer every year were identified through screening. Of these 7,000, it is likely that 3,000 will die of the disease. 

Dr Nick Perry, director of The London Breast Institute commented, ‘Regular screening is already proven to lower the chance of women dying from breast cancer. The results of our study support the importance of regular screening in the under-50 age group and confirm that annual mammography improves the chances of breast conservation should breast cancer develop.’

Click here for the full article.

Public Health White Paper

Dec 01, 2010

The Coalition’s White Paper ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy People’ was published yesterday. Whilst it makes reference to the role of employers and highlights their responsibility, there is nothing as yet that we haven’t heard before.

The government calls on employers to provide better training for managers, forge closer links with occupational health and, wait for it, set up mini competitions / challenges between staff in activities such as cycling. This is hardly the radical approach that they refer to in the beginning of the document.

I don’t know who they consulted with before publication, but I don’t think they realise the significant investment that many employers already make in the health of the working population, saving much of the public purse. What would really galvanise employers are tax/financial incentives that reward them for making further investment.

BreastHealth UK

Nov 29, 2010

I recently met with Troels Jordansen, the Danish MD of BreastHealth UK, and spent some time talking to him about their breastcheck and screening services which they have developed for the corporate market. Having learned how much more can be done to prevent or reduce the enormous financial and emotional costs of breast cancer, I now believe their services to be some of the most relevant and valuable health benefits available to employers and their employees. (Continue reading …)

House of Lords Debates PMI Issues

Nov 17, 2010

November has been a busy month for the House of Lords in respect of two Private Medical Insurance (PMI) issues that lobbyists have been successful in getting an airing. The first concerns a long running dispute between certain consultants and the two largest private medical insurers around the latter looking to implement fixed fee schedules on the former. The second relates to the impact that private medical insurers reimbursement policies have on cancer patients. Let’s look at each in turn and what relevance they have for employers.   (Continue reading …)


Nov 04, 2010

I was recently invited by the the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries (AMII) to be a guest at their Annual General Meeting. From a relatively low profile since its inception in 1998, it has really built up a head of steam over the last few years and is now quite an influential body with the ear of most of the private medical insurers. In an industry that does not require any qualifications to sell advice, their drive to increase professionalism is welcome. (Continue reading …)

Free Health Checks from BMI Healthcare

Oct 27, 2010

BMI, the largest private hospital group in the UK has announced a year long programme of  free mini health checks at workplaces and shopping centres. The health checks comprise tests for body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose – four important indicators for some of Britain’s most prevalent diseases.

Employers can email if they would like to hold such an event at their workplace. At the moment, I can’t see any catch.

Early detection can save lives, so the investment BMI are making in this marketing opportunity should be welcomed.

Bupa to sell UK Protection and Risk Business

Oct 18, 2010

Bupa has recently announced its intention to sell its UK Protection and Risk Business, Bupa Health Assurance Ltd, to Resolution for £165.5m.  Resolution has recently completed the purchase of the majority of the UK Life arm of AXA, having also bought Friends Provident last year. I can really see the strategic fit for Resolution as it looks to boost its market share through portfolio acquisition. I’m struggling to see the Bupa rationale other than an opportunity for raising what might be, some much needed cash. (Continue reading …)