Written by former Group CEO, Evelyn Bourke
The spread of COVID-19 is deeply concerning for people, governments and organisations everywhere. At its heart, this public health emergency is a human emergency. It affects us all and we must face it together, as one society.
Playing our part in the government and public health response is Bupa’s priority. In doing so, we have a simple, single-minded mantra: focus on the welfare of people. From those who are suffering the effects of the virus including patients and those who are most vulnerable to it, to the people on the frontline of health and care working tirelessly to keep us all safe. We are also focused on the needs of our customers – from companies looking for our support in keeping their people healthy and well, to individuals and their families. Staying safe and well through ‘lock down’ is a new need that we are all adapting to.
Recognising health and care workers, everywhere
Across the world, health and care workers are at the forefront of this crisis. They are showing remarkable commitment and courage as they treat people with COVID-19, and ensure other vital health and care needs are met. Over half of the people Bupa employs worldwide are clinicians and carers, and many are part of the public health efforts. We are immensely proud of the way they are responding, joining the public health efforts in the fight against COVID-19. Our priority is to keep our people safe and well so they, in turn, can care for patients where we have hospitals as well as residents in our care homes and villages.
Adapting our services
Like any organisation, we have needed to rapidly adapt to the new normal. To do so, we have significantly expanded telehealth and digital delivery of care with unprecedented demand for access to nurses, GPs and consultants by telephone and videolink. We’re also seeing record levels of calls to our helplines and use of online resources, particularly for support on mental health and wellbeing. In each country we operate in, we’re responding to the new and emerging needs of individuals and organisations. We’re taking a range of actions including changing policies, services and payment terms, and providing support for those experiencing financial hardship.
Caring for our people
Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our employees is our number one priority. We have a particular focus on those who are key workers, providing frontline services through the pandemic. Like other organisations we have moved to working from home in line with government advice. We are supporting people’s health and wellbeing, providing information and advice including mental health services and guidance.
Supporting our communities
Finally, we are also playing our part in the communities in which we operate. We are engaging with local and national community partners through our Bupa Foundations and through volunteering and fundraising to support their work at this incredibly difficult time.
COVID-19 is an extraordinary, once-in-a-generation challenge. It requires all parts of society to come together and collaborating in new ways for the benefit of people. We are playing our part.