Tag Archives: benenden

“People believe healthcare should be privatised!” says private healthcare firm

Do YOU know how much surgery on the NHS costs? You might be surprised…

DO you know how much procedures on the NHS really cost? New research suggests the British public is grossly ignorant about the real price of medical care.

The National Health Report 2015 was launched today and figure show we haven’t got a clue about how much procedures are really costing the NHS.

The report, compiled by mutual health and wellbeing provider Benenden, questioned 4,000 people across the UK asking them to put a cost to some common procedures and treatments.

Source: Express, 21st August 2015


Smokers and alcohol abusers should PAY for NHS treatment says new study

Most Britons believe treatment should not be free if damage has been self-inflicted

Almost nine in ten of us believe alcohol abusers should pay for their own treatment and not get it free on the NHS, a comprehensive new study reveals.

Last year more than 1.4 million people used NHS drug and alcohol services – including rehabilitation – at a total cost of £136 million.

Source: Mirror, 21st August 2015


Smokers and heavy drinkers should pay for treatment of ‘self-inflicted’ illnesses rather than expect NHS to foot the bill

The vast majority of people believe alcohol abusers should pay for their own treatment rather than get it free on the NHS, a survey has found.

More than half said the NHS should not fund treatment if the illness was a consequence of smoking and patients should be forced to pay for it themselves.

The report questioned 4,000 UK adults about the cost of common procedures in the UK and whether it should be publicly funded.

Source: Daily Mail, 21st August 2015


Not everyone in the country believes they should be responsible for jointly funding the healthcare of the nation – and at a time where the government increasingly looks to hand over parts of the NHS to private healthcare firms, articles like this can form a part of the justification for privatisation. Not only do stories like this serve as ‘proof’ of the current feeling of the public, but they also help to set the agenda and lead public opinion… which is why the source of this story is, as ever, absolutely key:

But the study, carried out by the Benenden National Health Report 2015, revealed how people were willing to con medical officials so they could have treatment paid for by the public purse.

Benenden are a private health firm, which makes their ‘discovery’ that people prefer to pay directly for health services they themselves need far from surprising. In that context, calling their PR survey the ‘National Health Report’ seems incredibly dicey – it’s not hard to see how some unsuspecting readers might assume this has something to do with the NHS, rather than with a private healthcare firm.

The obligatory spokesperson quote is just as interesting:

Medical Director of Benenden, Dr John Giles, said: ‘I suspect most people view diseases caused by excessive drinking and smoking as being self-inflicted and therefore potentially avoidable.

‘They probably feel that they should not have to pay the price for the consequences of the poor choices of others.

‘It comes as no surprise that the public has a staggering and destructive ignorance regarding the cost of treatments on the NHS.

‘As a nation we have lost touch with the role we should play in our own health and wellbeing, expecting the NHS to pick up the pieces.

‘If the public was more aware of the cost of appointments, treatments, operations and prescriptions, and really took responsibility for their own health, using the NHS only when absolutely necessary, the crisis the service finds itself in today would be significantly lessened.’

It’s uncontroversial to suggest that we ought to take care of ourselves and take responsibility for our own health. However, what Benenden are doing with this story and with this quote is to shift responsibility for the wellbeing of the NHS away from the politicians who continue to freeze funding, and onto the patients – and, specifically, onto certain groups of patients. This kind of thinking is the wedge that opens the door for separating oneself from these ‘problematic patient groups’, and into privatised medicine.

As far as this blogger can see, this is not a story about a report on the health of the NHS and the cost of treatments, but a cynical piece of privitisation propaganda PR. This is where the effect of Bad PR can be at its worst, influencing public perception and potential policy decisions.

“Modern life is so stressful it can make you sick!” says private health firm

How worried are you at the moment? Well, if you read the print editions of the Daily Express or the Daily Mail, the answer is: Very. That might not seem like the most astounding piece of media criticism you’ve ever read, but at least this time we have it direct from the mouths of these peculiarly paranoid media horses:

How we waste five years of our lives worrying about issues such as money and relationships

If something is worrying you, don’t fret too much… you’re far from being the only one.

Stressed-out Britons are spending the equivalent of five years of their life worrying, according to a survey.

The typical adult is losing around two hours a day fretting over issues such as personal finances, health, getting old, job security and relationships.

Source: Daily Mail, 27 January 2013


Apparently we’re all so stressed out about modern life, we’re losing a whopping TWO HOURS from each day simply worrying. If this is true, I’ve certainly never noticed those periods where I pause, at length, and engage in some hard-core, concentrated, focused worrying. Two hours a day of fretting – you’d think I’d notice. Perhaps my memory is going. That worries me – even as I’m typing this, I fear my memory might be failing me.

Does this time count towards my two hours of worrying? Or is there a separate 120 minutes of worry-time I still have to try and cram in? With all this worrying to get around to, it’s a wonder anyone gets anything done. Which presumably exacerbates the situation, creating a kind of furrowed-brow feedback-loop.

Or – just maybe – this story is absolute nonsense, the idea that people worry for as much as two hours per day isn’t actually measurable in any meaningful way, and there’s unequivocally no evidence to support the implied conclusion that time spent worrying isn’t spent doing other things too, thus allowing us to identify specific worrying time and come to the ludicrous-but-headline-friendly figure of ‘five years of fretting’.

For instance, if I were to take leave of my senses and sign myself up for skydive (which I wouldn’t do), at the moment that I jumped out of the plane (which I never will) I imagine I’d be somewhat worried that my parachute wouldn’t open, or that a cable would break, or that I would have a momentarily lapse of sanity and unbuckle myself from the harness and plummet to my death. Throughout the course of the whole skydive, I’d be worrying about all of these things, and more. I’d also, however, be hurtling to the ground at a speed approaching terminal velocity, so at the very least I’d be multitasking – meaning I couldn’t count this whole worrying experience as part of my Fretting-RDA of two hours.

So, it’s fair to say, the premise of this whole article is nonsense. Which is little surprise, given that almost every word of the copy came from a press release by the private healthcare firm Benenden:

The research, which was commissioned by leading health and wellbeing mutual Benenden Health, found the average person endures 14 hours each week weighed down with worry.

Around 45 per cent of those studied admitted stress and worry had directly affected their health.


It’s good of Benenden, of course, to commission a poll to find out just how our health is affected by the worrying time which was self-reported by users of the online polling company OnePoll, who are each paid around 10p for every often-lengthy survey they complete, with their only access to the money coming when they’ve accrued a whopping £40, giving this user base little-to-no incentive to actually think about their answers and all-the-incentive-in-the-world to spend as little time as possible in their low-paid box-ticking hobby.


If only, in the wake of these findings, there was someone like Paul Keenan from Benenden Health on hand, to explain to us how health issues can be caused by stress and anxiety:

‘It is a sad reality that stress is dominating our lives and having a severe impact on our work life, our quality of sleep and our personal relationships.

‘The crunch comes when it begins to have a detrimental impact on our health – and 45 per cent admit stress is already doing this.

‘Thirty-two per cent of people have even gone to the doctors because of worry or stress.’

If only, after reading this story by the private healthcare company Benenden Health about how stress and worry can cause us to need to see a healthcare professional, there was some kind of private healthcare company a worried reader could call, to put their addled mind at ease.

The irony here being, of course, that seeing a press release based on unreliable data from a biased source appear near-verbatim in the most-read online newspaper is actually the most worrying thing about this whole article.

“Keeping a new baby healthy is hard!” says private health firm

Being a new parent can’t be easy, with your recently-minted bundle O’joy taking an inordinate amount of time and attention – just at a time when sleep deprivation leaves you at your least aware and attentive.

It’s a wonder more parents don’t crack under the pressure, and it’s why the Daily Mail were entirely believable when they declared:

Anxious new mothers make 16 visits to GP in child’s first year: Millions admit ‘panicking’ over minor ailments

Anxious first-time mothers make 16 trips to the doctor on average over a child’s first year, a study has found.

Millions of mothers admitted ‘panicking’ and taking a baby to their GP only to be told they had a minor ailment. As many as one in three went to the doctor for a common cold, according to the research.

One in ten dashed to the surgery believing their baby was unconscious – to learn he or she was sleeping.

Source: Daily Mail, 11 February 2013

The story also made the paper editions of the Daily Mail and The Times.

Those poor mothers, worrying their pretty little heads over nothing – how they must feel like such a drain on NHS resources and a burden to the busy GPs around the country. In fact, the article mentions this very worry:

One in five mums admitted worrying too much, while one third considered their worrying to always be justified.

However 44 per cent had been made to feel like they were a hypochondriac or guilty of wasting the doctor or health professional’s time.”

It seems the new parent can’t win – it’s a constant trade-off between the fear of an unwell baby and the guilt of wasting the important time of their healthcare professional. It’s just a huge shame, then, that there aren’t healthcare professionals you could pay to deal with these worries, who are private and therefore have the time to be reassuring:

The study, by mutual organisation Benenden Health, found the average mother did not get a full night’s sleep until 12 months after giving birth.

Yesterday Jean Scott, of Benenden, said: “Being a new mother can be an overwhelming experience.

As a mother myself, I know how daunting this can be and how vital it is to get support during this initial period.

Often getting professional advice when you feel your child may be unwell can be the only way to put your mind at east, even if it ultimately turns out only to be a cold.

There we are then – the perfect solution! This study, commissioned by a private health firm via 72 Points OnePoll service, has identified that what new parents really need most is a private health firm. Because – as Benenden’s own slogan declares – life is precious… and good publicity is even more so.

“Life at 50 is expensive, but buy private healthcare!” says private healthcare provider

February 20th, 2012

As you get older, life seems to get more expensive – but it’s important not to neglect your expensive healthcare…

The mid-life money crisis: Turning 50 marks the most expensive stage of our lives

With children flying the nest and more free time than ever, those turning 50 would be forgiven for thinking they might be able to kick back and enjoy their golden years.

But according to a new study, the tough times are only just beginning.

A new study has found that those celebrating their half-century are about to enter the most expensive stage of their lives.

said the Daily Mail, at the start of a scare story about the shocking finances of the over 50s, and how expensive life gets once you’re past the half-century.

The article was derived from a press release from Benenden Healthcare Society – in fact here’s the press release (another effort from OnePoll/72 Point).

You might think it odd that a private healthcare firm to be telling their target audience that finances are tight, and they need to prioritise? Not so:

Marc Bell added: ‘Life is getting tougher for the over 50s. The increased costs places extras pressures on the wallet, but it can also put greater pressure on mental wellbeing and the strength of relationships.

‘In the midst of this greater expense, we should not forget to prioritise our personal health. It is perhaps the time of life when maintaining good health is most vital – therefore ensuring a secure future for our family.

‘Whilst being in your 50s can be the most expensive time of life, not having safeguards such as life cover could end up leaving loved ones to pick up the pieces and to try and deal with huge financial burdens.’

So ‘even though you’re skint, don’t skimp on the healthcare or your family will be screwed when you die’. Wonderful.