There was a moment about 18 months ago, when I was CEO of Bupa Europe & Latin America, when time simply stopped. We watched as COVID-19 moved across the world and suddenly it was on our doorstep and inside one of our care homes in Spain.
It was an awful time, which filled us, our staff and families with worry. But it was a period where we saw true leadership from our hard-working nurses, carers and local teams doing absolutely everything they could to protect our residents.
Many of us will emerge from this pandemic with heavy hearts – both personally and professionally. Yet I believe it is in challenging times we have more clarity about the types of people – or businesses – we want to be and the impact we want to have.
In my role as Group CEO of Bupa, the pandemic has made me reflect on the organisation that we are, the care and services we provide and the mark we want to leave on the world. How can we take the learnings of COVID-19 and ensure these lessons lead to better health and wellbeing for our customers, patients and residents around the world?
Bupa’s long-held purpose has been to help people live, longer, healthier, happier lives and we recently refreshed this to also include making a better world. This change reflects the responsibility all organisations have in the wider world. Every day, our 85,0000 people are supporting more than 31 million customers globally with their healthcare journey and now we are aiming to do this more sustainably. Planet health and people’s health are intrinsically connected.
From surgeries to health assessments, dental appointments and coronary check-ups, we play an important role in keeping people fit and healthy to pursue their passions and live life to the fullest. It is through this care that we get to know our customers, their health and habits and with the power of technology we can harness the full potential of predictive and preventative care.
It’s clear we have a role to play in keeping people well for longer while ensuring their baseline health is better to withstand the challenges life throws at us. We want to be able to empower our clinicians and customers with knowledge and data to put them in the best position possible to make healthcare plans and choices. Some call this ‘thriving not just surviving’.
More than ever before people are conscious of their physical and mental health. The pandemic has shone a bright spotlight on the true state of public health and wellbeing and escalated the urgency to address issues like obesity and diabetes. It has also seen the digitalisation of healthcare progress faster than anyone could imagine.
We are living in a unique period where people are more informed and interested in their own health, while also having tools at their fingertips to monitor and track it. This gives us a unique opportunity to learn from and support our customers, patients and residents and ensure this momentum is not lost.
I want Bupa to play a relevant role in people’s lives as much as possible – we want to do more than just provide services or care for people when they are feeling unwell, sick or frail. We want to be there earlier in the journey and do our best to prevent them from getting to this point, assisting with diagnostics, tracking and support along the way.
As an organisation we’re focused on transforming and I’m energised by the renewed passion we have to make a positive impact on the lives of our customers. We’re coming full circle and realising the potential of the founding principle enshrined in Bupa when it was established on 3 April 1947 – “to prevent, relieve and cure sickness and ill-health of every kind.”