Global in reach, flexible at home

Getting someone safely home from a remote part of the world – or getting specialists out there – requires speed, precision and a high degree of organisation.

Medical evacuation and repatriation is hardly ever a straightforward business – whether it’s a heart attack, a road accident or complications during pregnancy.

Europe’s largest provider of medical evacuation services to the travel industry, Healix, has been built by two British doctors. 

Dr Paul Beven and Dr Peter Mason started a medical repatriation business in 1992 with a team of just three based in a small office in Wandsworth.

Today, Healix employs more than 200 staff and is rapidly expanding overseas with offices in New Zealand, Australia, Spain, Greece, Singapore, Kenya and the USA. The company remains privately owned and run by Beven and Mason.

Many British companies with employees deployed around the world use Healix; it provides services such as pre-deployment medical assessments, advice and planning for specialist medical needs, medical assistance overseas and 24-hour medical helplines.

Its clients include companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Oxfam and Virgin Atlantic. The company also looks after the primary and secondary healthcare needs of British Government employees (and their families) working overseas by providing the FCO Healthline service.

It provides international medical assistance services for most of the major travel insurance companies and their insurance division manages insurance and reinsurance capacity on their behalf. Its automated medical risk assessment tool (Black Box) has revolutionised the way travel insurance is sold and won Healix a Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) in 2008. The Black Box is now sold in Australia, Canada, Denmark and New Zealand.

Healix is also the market leader in the provision of corporate healthcare trusts, a recognised alternative to traditional corporate private medical insurance schemes. “Our whole-hearted focus is on providing members of our healthcare trusts with access to quick and effective treatment through our industry-leading, nurse-led case management approach,” says co-founder Dr Paul Beven. “We have been voted the ‘best provider of Healthcare Trusts’ for the past three years and we have a reputation for providing an exceptional level of customer service whilst managing down the costs of providing quality healthcare for employees.”

At its head office in Esher, Healix has been no less innovative in its people management.In particular, it is a notable champion of flexible working.

The results demonstrate that a commitment to flexible working has created a confident, determined business that is at the top of its game.

“Flexible working means we have a very committed workforce. We benefit from low staff turnover, people feel refreshed and able to avoid unnecessary stress,” says Beven.

The company also says that flexible working practices have enabled it to retain employees who would otherwise not have been able to carry on with their careers.

More than one-third – 37 per cent – of Healix’s workforce currently have the ability to work from home. Healix has agreed flexible working patterns with employees to help them balance work with a range of other commitments and responsibilities – such as childcare and doing the school run, to job sharing and cutting car travel times to work, to further education, carer and volunteer/charity commitments.

Healix has always been keen to accommodate requests for flexible working arrangements rather than risk losing valuable employees or see employees spending unnecessary time or expense on travel, childcare or miss out on key activities in their life.

Of course, there are parts of the business that have core hours and service level agreements that need to be met. But it still manages to enable flexibility within these work patterns.  A lot of effort has been put into ensuring that individuals who work shift patterns still feel they are able to enjoy the flexibility of colleagues elsewhere.

Beven refers to the “undisputed principle” of fairness. “We not only recognise and appreciate special requirements but we also proactively accommodate them accordingly, implementing any necessary adjustments,” he states. It’s no wonder that it has been accredited as one of the UK’s Best Companies to Work For the past six years.

Find out more about flexible working. There are also resources on the ACAS website.