Million member mutual votes on becoming major public healthcare provider
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Uploaded on Jun 21, 2012
Member representatives* for the UK's largest mutual healthcare organization, Benenden Healthcare, will vote to open up the organization to the wider public at an annual conference on Thursday 21st June.
Membership of the 107 year old Benenden Healthcare is currently available to current or former public sectors workers as well as members of credit unions, co-operatives and charities.
Conference delegates are being asked to vote to allow any UK resident, aged 16 or over, to join the Society and benefit from its mutual, not-for-profit ethos.
This represents a major leap forward for the organisation, which began in 1905 when Post Office workers clubbed together using a low-cost, mutual model so that quality healthcare could become affordable for all.
Because it is a mutual, Benenden Healthcare sees itself as a natural partner to the NHS -- with its services complementing not replacing NHS services, alleviating pressure on waiting lists and providing non-acute healthcare services, enabling the NHS to focus funding on acute services.
Opening its eligibility criteria provides the public with greater choice for fulfilling their healthcare needs. Rather than being in competition with the NHS, we are enabling greater patient choice with a low-cost, accessible and ethical healthcare model.
The organisation is forecasting that an open eligibility criteria will result in increases in membership levels -- moving from a membership of around 930,000 in 2012 to over a million by 2016.
*Members are allocated to regional branches on joining the Society. They are encouraged to participate and make proposals to the annual conference -- held in June each year. Delegates are also nominated from branches to attend conference -- and it is these delegates who will vote on the issue on Thursday June 21st. Results of the vote will be made public on Friday 22nd
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