One in 10 employees using virtual GPs and mental health apps are making appointments for dependents under 18 years of age.
Data from Legal & General and Teladoc shows the demand for these services, and the difficulties some families face finding mental health support for children on the NHS.
These findings form part of total usage data since the launch of Legal & General’s virtual GP, provided by Teladoc Health UK from July 2022 to October 2023 — part of L&G group protection’s wellbeing framework.
In addition to 24/7 365 days a year access to GPs, the full range of services features mental health support – including child mental health consultations, physiotherapy assessments and consultations, plus fast-track access to expert consultants from multiple disciplines.
The release of this data on dependants’ usage comes as the UK is experiencing ever-widening health inequalities, according to Legal & General’s latest Rebuilding Britain Index. On mental health specifically, reports suggest that 1 in 6 children aged 5-16 years old is likely to have a mental health problem.
The availability of child mental health referrals is as valuable as the GP consultations, says Legal & General, highlighting reports that NHS waiting lists for all-age mental health support can be anywhere between 2 weeks to 22 weeks, depending on where in the UK an individual lives.
Typically these add on benefit are available to the entire workforce, whether they are covered on a GIP policy or not.
L&G Group Protection head of product and proposition James Walker says: “By having group income protection in place, employers are not only helping extend essential primary care support to employees but also to their dependants.
“This brings value to employees, relieving the worry that comes when their child is unwell. And it brings value to businesses, in terms of contributing to DEI goals, plus Environmental Social Governance (ESG) strategy in the process.
Teleadoc Health UK director of operations Rebecca White adds: “At a time when NHS resources are more over-stretched than ever, feedback from the users suggests that it’s a relief to be gain access when needed to the right diagnoses, medications and mental health support.
“A child’s mental health is as much a worry for parents as for their own health and enabling swift access to experts in the face of significant waits for NHS services is invaluable.”
She adds: “The service is proven to help reduce pressure on the NHS.” Data from the patient satisfaction survey shows that 11 per cent of those using the service said they would have been gone to A&E and urgent care services if this had not been available.
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