In an unprecedented move, Tesco (TSCO.L), the UK’s largest private-sector employer, has announced it will provide its staff with virtual appointments with a private family doctor.
Tesco confirmed on Thursday that its generous benefits package, accessible to its 310,000 UK workers, will allow employees and their families unlimited access to a general practitioner (GP) seven days a week. This decision comes amidst a fiercely competitive labour market, pressuring companies to enhance hourly wages, dispense one-time bonuses, supply free meals and other perks to attract and retain their workforce.
Over the last year, Tesco has already increased staff wages by over 15%. This new initiative to retain workers might prompt other large-scale employers to launch similar schemes.
The NHS, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, was founded post World War Two to provide free healthcare at the point of use. It remains a cherished institution, yet the ongoing strains from the COVID-19 pandemic and an aging demographic mean the service is grappling to meet demand. Many individuals are finding it increasingly difficult to secure appointments with their local GPs when needed and face lengthy waiting lists for hospital treatment.
A study conducted by Health Hero revealed that while 84% of GP patients required an appointment last year, only 53% who desired a same-day appointment could secure one. Tesco, in conjunction with its health partner YuLife, has committed to address this issue. YuLife GPs will have the capacity to issue private prescriptions, which can be collected at pharmacies on the same day or dispatched to the employee’s residence. Staff will have the option of online video consultations or a phone call.
The benefits package will be extended to all Tesco frontline staff and managers, and their immediate families living in the same household, across the UK. This includes employees of Tesco Bank and the wholesale business Booker.
The range of additional services accessible to employees includes sleep therapists, nutritionists, counsellors, exercise coaches, and physiotherapists. “This is a direct investment in the health of our colleagues,” stated James Goodman, Tesco’s UK People Director.
The Workers Union Says…
“Historically, Tesco, like other large employers and retailers, has offered more traditional benefits to staff, such as share schemes and staff discounts. However, last year, the supermarket giant also started providing advances on pay, underlining its commitment to maintaining a motivated, healthy, and financially stable workforce. We commend Tesco on this intuitive action for its workers and encourage other business owners to do the same”