May 30, 2018 Movers & Shakers

Benenden Health aims to shake up the healthcare sector

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Benenden, one of the UK’s largest and oldest healthcare societies, is undergoing a radical shake-up of its business under the stewardship of new CEO, Bob Andrews. The mutual organisation has announced a strategic rebrand and a national print and broadcast advertising campaign that will help it reduce the burden on the NHS and take on the private healthcare giants.

Founded in 1905 to specifically treat postal workers suffering from tuberculosis, Benenden now has more than 800,000 members from all walks of life and aims to recruit further members over the next 12-months. Bridging the gap between costly private healthcare and an overstretched NHS, the mutual will be renamed Benenden Health – to clearly position it as a healthcare provider.

Bob Andrews, CEO of Benenden Health, who joined the business six-months ago, commented: “Benenden has a fantastic heritage, but the name has negligible impact on people. Simply adding the word ‘health’ to our title will help us tell our story better and increase awareness of our business among members of the public. Recent estimates show that just 10% of the country has private healthcare, with many put off by premiums that can run into the thousands every year. A new name is just part of our vision to inform people across the UK that there is a viable alternative to the NHS that is a fraction of the cost of going private.”

The provider aims to grow its membership by around seven percent in the second half of 2018, which will cement its position as the country’s largest mutual healthcare organisation. A new educational national TV campaign will air this month – its first in two years. The advert will be broadcast for the first time on May 14th with slots booked across regional ITV channels and nationally on Channel 4; there will be 762 spots over an initial two-week burst. The advert kicks-off during Innocent, a highly publicised ITV drama, and will also be aired during other prime time ITV shows including Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Love Your Garden NHS Special, NHS Live at 70, Ninja Warrior and Lorraine. On Channel 4, the advert will air during high viewership programmes, including the F1 qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix and Sunday Brunch.

The educational and awareness-building campaign will highlight the low costs of joining Benenden Health in comparison to private healthcare providers, which for many just isn’t an option. Benenden Health is not insurance; through membership it complements the NHS by offering timely access to private healthcare when there’s a wait. It provides a 24/7 GP helpline from day one and, after six months of membership, access to private diagnosis, treatment, surgery and physiotherapy. All its members pay the same monthly fee of £10.25 and everyone is accepted with no medical questionnaires necessary and no exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions at the point of joining.

Andrews added: “We have assisted our members more than 78,000 times and funded £66m worth of healthcare in the last year alone. Those people may not have had private medical insurance and would have turned to the NHS, which faces several well-documented challenges. Today’s announcement marks the first stage of a new era at Benenden Health, one that will enable us to benefit even more people around the UK in a sustainable, affordable way.”

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