Private medical insurance is a common part of remuneration for senior staff, but few companies appreciate the enormous recent advances in preventative medicine. Treatment of illnesses is improving all the time, but early diagnosis always improves the outcome. Modern, high-resolution imaging can now reveal most medical issues before the time when they present a critical risk, and while the upfront costs may appear high, they are dwarfed by the economic and personal costs of trying to deal with an illness after it becomes manifest.
The health of key staff is a vital issue for any company. Even the most cursory consideration of the cost of sudden debilitating illness of senior staff, indicates that the cost of preventative medicine will rarely be uneconomic.
Private medical insurance provides the comfort of knowing that when things go wrong, members will not have to wait for treatment. However, for key individuals within your company, is this enough? The stark facts are that half of all heart attacks occur in people with no previous diagnosis of heart disease and around a third of those will not survive their first heart attack. Bowel cancer is the second biggest killer in the developed world but, if detected early, the survival rate is now over 95%. Strokes, which can be prevented with timely intervention, leave 30% of patients with a permanent disability.
What is preventative medicine?
What is preventative medicine and what factors should be in your mind when you consider the available options? Most healthcare packages include some access to preventative medicine and for most, that access increases with the amount spent. However, a comparison of the tests used to determine the “health” of an individual shows that they vary considerably and the most expensive (currently the Mayo Clinic, in the USA) is not the most comprehensive.
I have been a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon since 2002 and have always believed that prevention was better than cure and that we would be able to do so much more when the science “caught up” with our aspirations. As soon as the possibilities permitted, I began to piece together what I know to be the most comprehensive health check available in the world today, by any objective criteria. The Private Harley Street Clinic’s LifeRisk Assessment draws on the most innovative technology to deliver the definitive answers about an individual’s current condition and their propensity to develop any significant illness.
The LifeRisk Assessment
The LifeRisk Assessment is not a “one-size fits all” scenario. Each patient is treated as an individual case and a thorough pre-screening consultation is key to creating a bespoke regime which will provide a comprehensive evaluation together with extra focus on genetically indicated risks or other known or perceived higher risk conditions. Moreover, the precision of our modern imaging is so great that a fully comprehensive report is generated. These tests need only be carried out once every 3-5 years, rather than annually, providing companies with the stability and security they need to operate effectively and key individuals with the peace and reassurance about their health that enables them to focus on what they can achieve.
We have access to the latest high-resolution, low emission scanners which deliver state of the art diagnostics, including three-dimensional reconstructive imaging of all internal organs, which can tell us with certainty whether an individual has preliminary indications of serious illness. Results are available in most cases on the same day and always within twenty-four hours. If there are any indications of an issue that requires intervention, we have a panel of experts to whom a patient can be referred for an immediate consultation, knowing that there will be no guesswork, and that the condition can be treated immediately. If there are any questions about the results, we offer an unrivalled aftercare system through which a patient can speak to the relevant practitioner on the telephone or via a video consultation within hours, or in person by appointment.
Mental stress is becoming an increasing problem for employers and employees and we know that stress related conditions at senior management level can create significant disharmony right down through a company’s hierarchy. Your key personnel carry enormous responsibility and it is not surprising that, on occasions, some individuals struggle with the weight of that responsibility. Early diagnosis and treatment are no less relevant to this condition than to the physical illnesses to which I have already referred. In this area, the human touch and an empathetic approach at the initial consultation are key to eliciting stress indicators from people who might perceive such a condition as a sign of weakness. There are many ways to help those that suffer with such conditions, including appropriate psychological treatment, medication or other remedies. The most significant factor is to diagnose the condition, to address it and to monitor it.
The crux of this article is that despite the massive improvements in the treatment of serious illness, early diagnosis continues to have the most significant effect on the outcome for patients.
Of course, an individually-tailored approach to healthcare using state of the art equipment must cost more than a generic package offering little more than a basic examination with some blood tests and ten minutes on a treadmill. However, when one appreciates that the LifeRisk assessment need only be performed once every three to five years and provides definitive answers in contrast to an annual examination with little predictive value, the difference in cost is not as great as it might appear at first glance and is insignificant when one considers the potential, consequential costs.
The Private Harley Street Clinic’s LifeRisk Assessment costs between £4,500 and £6,500 and will not be an option for everybody. But for those individuals who can afford it and for those companies with people they cannot afford to lose, it must be the right approach.