Employers who offer health and wellbeing support, and the insurers who embed it as added value, must ensure that it is delivered by specialists in order to get the best health outcomes for individuals, says RedArc as it delivers its predictions for 2024. With public health high on the political agenda for 2024, the nurse-led health and wellbeing provider believes specialist support will be the zeitgeist in this space in the coming year.

Christine Husbands, commercial director, RedArc said: “Those looking to offer health and wellbeing support have an overwhelming amount of choice, such has been the prolific growth in this sector. Therefore, identifying providers who can make a material difference to health outcomes is paramount and will be a significant focus throughout the year, particularly as contracts are renewed and renegotiated.”

How this focus on specialist support will manifest itself in 2024

For national economic reasons, a continued priority will be to encourage the long-term sick back into work. It may be the case that with specialist support, some of the current cohort may not have had to be absent from the workplace but to ensure these numbers do not rise, specialist condition-specific support needs to be available.

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Similarly, support from specialists is crucial for serious illnesses such as cancer: many people, including survivors of serious illness, want to return to the workplace for both emotional and financial reasons. This can be difficult to achieve without having a trusted professional alongside them who can help navigate the issues associated with returning to the workplace, the impact on their home life, their medical journey and the huge emotional impact of a serious illness. In 2024, RedArc expects more employers to recognise this.

With specialist support, comes a greater focus on the measurement of outcomes for the reassurance of employers, insurers and the individuals themselves. This means all parties will put greater significance on pre and post assessments such as GAD and PHQ within a mental health context, which can only be accurately delivered by clinically trained practitioners. RedArc anticipates the availability of demonstrable customer outcomes to carry greater weight for employers and insurers when selecting a new partner organisation in 2024.

Pressures on primary care is unlikely to reduce, so organisations will increasingly need to assist their employees and customers by giving them access to experts who have the time to give meaningful support to individuals and help them to navigate the NHS, understand the process to access care, and have knowledge of the right questions to ask.

Consumer Duty remains at the forefront of many providers’ minds. To ensure products and services are fit for purpose, as set out in the FCA’s regulatory guidelines, increasing numbers of insurers will need to ensure they partner with reputable third-party suppliers. In practice, this will mean working with those who have qualified, clinically-trained practitioners available to support individuals with their health issues and conditions.

Christine Husbands concluded: “A plethora of companies offering health and wellbeing support are now available but those who procure such support for the benefit of their employees and customers are becoming increasingly aware of the potential gaps or short fallings in the service they receive. In many cases, it simply isn’t adequate and may only offers light-touch support. Clinically-trained experts are the best people to deliver expert support and we expect increased focus on this during 2024.”

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