Cancer, musculoskeletal (MSK) problems, and mental health concerns were the three conditions most referred to RedArc in 2022.
The support organisation’s patient data shows that cancer and musculoskeletal issues were up by 18% and 19% respectively in 2022 compared to the previous calendar year.
Mental health referrals were down 19% but RedArc said it believed this reflected a normalising of referrals following the significant rise during the pandemic, rather than decreasing in real terms.
It added that many of the referrals in 2022 were not solely due to an increase in cases but the impact of longer waiting lists for treatment.
Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc, (pictured) said: “Our referral statistics reflect the national picture, that many individuals are experiencing exceptionally long waiting times both for elective and emergency treatment on the NHS.
“Support is available and the insurers must offer it, as well as communicate the benefits so policyholders can manage symptoms, even if there are problems or delays in receiving a diagnosis or treatment plan.
“A common refrain when people are referred to us is, ‘I wish I’d known about you sooner,’ demonstrating that the industry can do more to communicate what is available and how to access support.
Husbands noted that the wait before a diagnosis, operation, or treatment plan can be “really taxing for people and their families with life as normal on hold and the overriding concern that the delays will exacerbate their illness.”
“The dedicated support of a nurse can be of real benefit at this time both from a clinical and emotional point of view and the support may also help people to remain at work, and crucially remain earning, which is good for their mental and financial health,” she continued.
“Crucially, everyone needs to understand that health and wellbeing support is there for the before, during, and after, and while we all hope that waiting times are reduced soon, we’re glad to have been there for those who needed us in 2022.”