"It is about making the most of the NHS, protecting it where possible by providing alternatives but also ensuring that people get the care they need as quickly as possible."
- Christine Husbands, RedArc commercial director
Given these delays, Christine Husbands, RedArc commercial director, said that insurers should offer more support and properly communicate added-value services that may help policyholders manage symptoms, “even if there are problems or delays in receiving a diagnosis or treatment plan.”
At the time, Husbands told Protection Reporter that “We need to provide long-term support rather than short-term transactions,” and that “mental health services are sometimes not properly tailored, which has caused them to become almost a buzzword in the industry.”
Three months later, RedArc has issued a second warning as the NHS backlog continues to grow. The service provider said that insurers, employers, and advisers should play a bigger role in helping people navigate the system and bridge the care gap. But “this does not have to mean paying for expensive procedures or treatments, it is often a case of giving someone the knowledge they need to make the most of what is available,” Husbands clarified.
For example, what is a ‘care package’ and what does this service include? Husbands highlighted that “until someone is in the position of needing this, either for themselves or a loved one, they are unlikely to even be aware of them, let alone how the system works." Although in some areas, a community matron, can write these prescriptions and may provide an alternative to asking a GP for home visits, “people need to know about these services in their area to be able to access them.”
Likewise, although there are various support networks for people with cancer, diabetes, etc, and for those caring for the terminally ill or elderly, without any guidance from a trusted professional beforehand, attending these groups can be quite daunting.
“Understanding the options is an important part of making the most of the NHS and employers, insurers and advisers can provide access to specialists to guide people through the different routes,” Husbands concluded.
This warning follows research conducted by Royal London that found that 9 in 10 (88%) of customers have had to deal with issues such as poor mental health, affecting either themselves or a loved one (57%), physical illness or injury (49%), or the death of a loved one (32%).
The insurer noted that people are struggling to access the help they need because of NHS waiting times, services that “simply can’t meet the demand,” and a lack of awareness of other organisations that can help.