Returning to work faster after illness or injury

Illness and injury not only keep you from doing the things you love, but can also get in the way of your work. Here's how to access fast, effective care and get back to work sooner.

Know your workplace benefits

Whether you’re starting somewhere new or have worked in the same office for years, it’s a good idea to know if there are added benefits to your employment. Many larger businesses offer private medical insurance (PMI) as standard and some small and medium-sized enterprises are also using PMI as an incentive to attract the best talent.

Your employer may offer other health benefits, such as annual health checks or access to gym facilities through a partner like Nuffield Health. Speak to a contact in your HR or benefits department – it never hurts to know what you’re entitled to.

Tell your GP you have insurance and where you’d like to be treated

A private health report by HCA International in 2012 found the NHS spent almost a £1 billion on treating patients who had PMI, meaning patients who could have accessed private care simply passed up the benefit.

When you see a GP, tell them you have PMI. This will help them decide where to refer you for the best care. If you have a preferred specialist or hospital, ask to be referred there – your GP will give you the best advice but one of the key benefits of PMI is that you get to choose where you get treatment. Not using your PMI costs the NHS valuable resources and may mean you wait longer than necessary for your treatment.

Save your PMI policy number in your phone or keep your documents accessible so you can quote the number when you need to. Your insurer will take care of the rest.

If your employer doesn’t offer PMI you can still access private healthcare

Not all businesses are in a position to provide employee healthcare cover. You can always purchase the benefit yourself from a range of insurance providers. While the cost may seem high, consider the benefit of scheduling your treatment around your work commitments and having the option to choose your specialist. Private hospitals often offer treatments that might not be available elsewhere, for example advanced cancer treatments.

Paying for yourself

Paying insurance premiums isn’t for everyone. That’s why many private health providers, including Nuffield Health, have a self-pay option. Self-pay patients get all the benefits of private medical care, including rapid access to clinics, diagnostic tests and treatment.

Ask for a full, transparent quote that covers your entire treatment and recovery with no hidden fees. The cost of procedures might not be as high as you think - and you may pay less for the treatments you need than the cost of paying annual insurance premiums.

Choose a provider that offers a full recovery service

Private healthcare can offer you the most experienced consultants, advanced medical technology and pleasant surrounds in which to get your care, but that’s not all it can provide. Nuffield Health offers a complete end-to-end service from your first consultation to long after you’re back on your feet or at work.

For many surgeries we offer a pre-assessment Health MOT to make sure you’re in the best shape to receive and recover from your treatment. This offers you lifestyle support and advice, alongside ensuring clinical safety. If you need it, we provide access to specialised clinical physiotherapists and nutritional therapists who can make sure you prepare and recover as well as you can. Beyond this, we can give you free access to your local Nuffield Health gym with Recovery Plus*, a programme where you’ll be guided through a tailored recovery plan by experienced personal trainers.

*At selected sites only

Last updated Wednesday 12 April 2023

First published on Wednesday 6 April 2016