<img alt="" src="https://secure.coat0tire.com/222145.png" style="display:none;">
Skip to content


    Health and protection: the importance of virtual appointments

    01 September 2020

    Emma Snowden

    View all blogs


    Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share by email

    2 minute read

    What effect has the rising need for virtual appointments had on insurers - and what does it mean for your employees?


    Health and protection


    As employees adjust to new ways of working following the Covid-19 pandemic, whether at home or now with a gradual return into offices that look very different to the ones they left in March, the importance of remote support services across the board is clear.

    But for medical support services of the kind provided by health insurers this is a much bigger change than you might at first think to how things were being done pre-Covid.

    Even aside from private medical treatment such as surgery, which of course was impacted during the first wave of the pandemic as private hospitals saw their beds being requisitioned by the NHS to help with expected demand, the way patients access other services is changing fast.


    Research published earlier this year by AXA PPP Healthcare found that in 2019, 13 per cent of NHS GP appointments in England were held over the phone, and less than 1 per cent were made using online video tools.


    The pandemic's effect on GP appointments


    Unsurprisingly, these figures have changed hugely since the start of the pandemic. According to the Royal College of General Practitioners, in the four weeks leading up to April 12 this year, a massive 71 per cent of routine GP consultations were delivered remotely.


    There is a business benefit to this: the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) estimates that, had ‘virtual’ GP appointments been offered as a first point of call across all public GP practices in 2019, the number of face-to-face consultations could have been reduced by 50 million, meaning that UK businesses could have avoided £1.5 billion in lost working time in 2019 if workers had had the option to use remote GP services instead.


    So what effect has the rising need for remote or virtual appointments had on insurers providing services to companies, and what does this mean for your employees?


    Insurers have pivoted to offer an increased number of services online, making it easier for employees to access the services they urgently require. Here are the details of some of the remote services some insurers have in place and are currently promoting:

    • Access to Digital GP Services included as part of their core healthcare proposition and if the insurer’s Digital GP is used, this can also be used for a GP referral for a Private Medical Insurance claim.

    • Phone/video consultants with specialist consultants where appropriate

    • On-line access to a physiotherapist providing advice and exercises

    • Some insurers are offering direct referral for mental health services, without the need to see a GP

    • A range of Health & Wellbeing advice to provide support to employees including remote workers

    For employers providing PMI benefits to employees it’s important that you be aware of what’s provided under your policies so that you can point employees towards the services they may need. If you’re a Punter Southall Aspire client then you can rest assured that we’re keeping a close eye on market developments and will provide updates as soon as we have them.

    In the meantime, if you have any protection queries or requirements you’d like us to help with, please get in touch - we’d be happy to assist.

    Related resource

    The complete guide to Employee Benefits - read our A-Z explainer here
    Read the guide

    In the four weeks leading up to April 12 this year, a massive 71 per cent of routine GP consultations were delivered remotely.

    Royal College of General Practitioners

    Get in touch

    Talk to a specialist

    We're always happy to help.

    If you have a query for us, just fill out the short form and we'll be in touch.