Hywel Dda University Health Board is responsible for providing healthcare services to around 384,000 people across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. It also cares about the health and wellbeing of its 10,000 employees, having introduced a Health Shield-provided cash plan in 2013 to help staff fund their everyday health needs.
Andrea Thomas, senior terms, conditions and benefits manager at Hywel Dda, says: “We wanted to provide our employees with a benefit that they could use to support their health and wellbeing at work and at home.”
Alongside more traditional cash plan benefits such as optical, dental and physiotherapy, the plan includes a benefit that enables employees to access a range of alternative therapies, including sports massage, reflexology and hypnotherapy. “Employees really appreciate the variety of benefits on offer through the cash plan,” adds Thomas. “And they like the fact their claims are settled quickly, with the money back in their accounts in a matter of days.”
The cash plan is available on a voluntary basis, with Health Shield supporting Hywel Dda’s benefit promotions. This includes running staff presentations and attending health and wellbeing days, bringing therapists in to provide employees with a taster session.
The organisation is pleased with take-up of the benefit. “Last year, 200 new employees signed up for the cash plan,” says Thomas. “It does take time but as more and more people see what they can claim for, we expect word of mouth will help to drive take-up.”