By Max Clarke

The Forum of Private Business believes countless small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK could save time and money by investing in a high-quality medical insurance scheme.

Providing additional healthcare cover for staff is likely to save companies a significant amount of money by ensuring employees return to work as swiftly as possible after an illness or injury.

The move is also likely to make the recruitment of desirable employees quicker, cheaper and easier for SMEs thanks to the addition of a valuable benefit for workers.

The Forum also believes that providing private healthcare cover for staff will lead to increased employee loyalty and satisfaction, leading to lower staff turnover — and therefore lower recruitment costs — in the first place.

As a result, the Forum has teamed up with fellow not-for-profit organisation WPA in order to offer specially-discounted private medical insurance to Forum members.

The Forum's Finance and Administration Director, Nick Palin, said: "Employees often represent a business's greatest investment, so it makes sense for business owners to optimise this investment by reducing sickness absence and increasing staff retention.

"However, it's not just employers who should consider investing in private medical insurance. Owner-managers themselves are obviously crucial to the day-to-day operation of their enterprises, so they too need to be able to return to work as quickly as possible after an illness or injury."

Mr Palin added: "Many bigger businesses have been able to offer private medical insurance for years thanks to their bulk buying power.

"Now, smaller businesses can access it at affordable rates too thanks to our specially-negotiated deal with WPA, which we're delighted to be able to offer."