Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) offers a range of health and wellbeing benefits to keep its 600 operational and support staff fit and healthy. Helen Morbin, fitness and health adviser at RBFRS, says: “Our employees are our number one asset: without them we couldn’t deliver our mission to enable the people of Royal Berkshire to lead safe and fulfilling lives.”
The organisation’s health and wellbeing benefits include an occupational health service, movement screening, a mental health wellbeing adviser, fitness equipment and trained personnel in all workplaces. “All operational staff complete a fitness test twice a year and they have access to a number of initiatives and support to enable them to meet and maintain the required standard,” adds Morbin. “The pension age recently increased from 55 to 60 so a key challenge is keeping staff fit for longer.”
In March 2017, RBFRS added private healthcare to its benefits package, provided by Benenden. “During a staff engagement exercise a couple of years ago, staff were asked for their suggestions for the organisation’s future,” explains Morbin. “Private medical insurance was [the] most requested benefit but, as traditional products are too expensive, Benenden’s low-cost alternative was a good compromise.”
This provides private healthcare on a discretionary basis, enabling employees to access everything from diagnostics to treatment and surgery when they need it most. Alongside this are other benefits such as a GP advice line, an independent care advice service and a psychological wellbeing helpline.
The scheme is already proving popular. Many employees have received private treatment, enabling them to return to work and full health quickly. “We’re looking at the return on investment it delivers in terms of the time saved compared to waiting for NHS treatment,” adds Morbin. “We’ve also received lots of positive feedback from staff who have used the plan. It’s something they wanted and something they can use.”