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Tesco, the UK’s largest private-sector employer, has announced the launch of its most comprehensive suite of wellbeing services for more than 300,000 UK colleagues and their families.

For the first time, the benefits package includes the opportunity for colleagues and their immediate family* to have unlimited appointments with a GP, seven days a week to give them added flexibility in managing their health.

Appointments can be an online video consultation with a doctor via smartphone, tablet or computer, or a phone call, giving access to a GP anywhere, any time it’s needed.

Tesco is giving its colleagues access to book consultations on-demand to help with earlier intervention for health issues and to boost preventative action, at a time that suits them.

Research carried out by Health Hero, which is working with Tesco’s health partner YuLife to deliver the new service, revealed 84% of GP patients needed an appointment last year, but only 53% of patients who wanted an appointment on the same day were able to get one.

Tesco colleagues will also be able to access an expanded range of wellbeing services through its Employee Assistance Programme, including access to sleep therapists, nutritionists, counsellors, exercise coaches and physiotherapists. These services will be available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, for instant advice and guidance.

For example, a colleague experiencing anxiety and depression, may also be referred to a sleep specialist, a nutritionist and a life coach to help them to get back on track, as well as the current assistance offered with counselling or options like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). These services will also be available to colleagues’ family members living in the same household.

The package of services demonstrates Tesco’s commitment to support its workforce in a more innovative way, in addition to providing more traditional benefits, such as share schemes and discounts.

The new medical consultation service launches for the first time this month. GPs will be able to offer advice and reassurance to colleagues quickly and easily. They will also be able to issue private prescriptions, which can be filled at pharmacies the same day or delivered to the colleague’s home.

The UK grocer has continued to improve its colleague benefits in recent years and in November introduced a new colleague benefit, Pay Advance, that enables around 280,000 colleagues to get up to 25% of their contractual pay early. This is in addition to the wealth of help and advice Tesco offers its colleagues to help with their financial wellbeing.

This expanded focus on colleague wellbeing comes after Tesco made its biggest-ever investment in colleague pay over the past year, with an increase totalling a more than 15% pay rise to bring the hourly rate to £11.02. Tesco also gives colleagues a 10% discount on groceries, which increases to 15% every pay day weekend.

James Goodman, UK People Director, Tesco, said: “We recognise how important it is to support our colleagues’ health and wellbeing, and to ensure they can access the services they need in a flexible way that fits around their work and personal lives.”

 “With these enhanced colleague wellbeing services, we hope to help colleagues take positive steps to look after their wellbeing and when they need help, they will get fast and simple access to support.”

 “This is a direct investment in the health of our colleagues, which we hope will also support them to be at their very best and continue to do a brilliant job serving our customers.”

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