Health Shield has today announced a new strategic approach focused on providing preventative workplace health and wellbeing solutions for organisations of all sizes, but with a specific focus on helping SMEs access the preventative and legislative support they need. This comes as part of a complete brand evolution and digital transformation for the 140-year-old Friendly Society.

A core element in Health Shield’s new approach is the launch of ‘Breeze’, a digital platform that will be available direct to employers and via intermediaries. It brings together into one place all of the physical, emotional and financial health and wellbeing services that Health Shield provides. Although appropriate for all sizes of company, the society has also singled out SMEs for whom there is a pressing need to take a more preventative approach to employee health. This includes the need for support in meeting their legal obligations with regards to Occupational Health.

Breeze is designed to encourage self-care amongst employees. They can access the services from any digital device, allowing them to book and manage their own appointments, access health information and assessments and also receive discounts from big-name brands. It is also designed to be simple for employers to manage, including: automated onboarding; anonymous reporting on usage; easy to add and remove benefits; and tiered levels of benefits for managers and staff if required.

Through Breeze, employees will be able to access a range of services and information, including:

  • GP Anytime – direct line to a doctor via phone or video chat
  • On-demand Physio – consultations via phone or video chat
  • Health assessments – online health and lifestyle analysis
  • Wellbeing App – access to Thrive, an NHS approved* wellbeing app
  • 24/7 counselling
  • Cancer screening
  • Stress-related absence support
  • Home assistance – practical help following hospital treatment
  • PERKS Reward Scheme – deals and discounts from a range of brands
  • Information and guides on all aspects of health and wellbeing topics

Additionally, Health Shield is further developing its Occupational Health capability as part of Breeze with a particular aim to offer affordable services for SMEs, a market that is currently underserviced in this area. The new proposition will provide Occupational Health risk surveillance assessments, an online support service and Occupational Health management referrals.

This comes at a time when government is consulting on future policy to help ensure that all UK businesses take a much more proactive approach to absence management and improving employment prospects for those with long-term health conditions1. Government commissioned research finds that although the majority of SMEs understand employee health impacts business and productivity, they’re very reactive and lack understanding of absence management2. 56% of small businesses say they ‘take action as and when employee health and wellbeing becomes a problem’ in comparison to 28% of large employers that say the same. 2

Courtney Marsh, Health Shield Chief Executive, said:

“Our new strategic approach is focused on providing affordable and easy to access preventative health and wellbeing solutions that help people lead happier, healthier and more productive lives. Through the Breeze platform we are also making available to SMEs the kind of benefits programme, administration and analytics – plus support in line with their legal responsibilities around employee health – to which only their larger counterparts have traditionally enjoyed access. It’s effectively a one-stop shop wellbeing solution that provides a range of services within a fully digital experience that can be personalised for each employee’s needs.

“We have a long and successful history as a not-for-profit organisation, investing for the benefit of customers and supporting our own employees and local communities to also be in the best of health. Now, more than ever, people want to know that companies stand for something more than simply profit making. The evolution of our business, announced today, builds on our legacy of providing innovative and affordable health and wellbeing solutions. It’s mutuality for the 21st century.”

Breeze will be available from January 2020. To find out more, visit