A YORK mutual healthcare society dating back more than 110 years has unveiled a “radical shake-up” under its new chief executive.

Benenden, which employs a team of 270 in Holgate Park, is refocussing its priorities on health services after diversifying into broader insurance packages in recent years.

The new strategy is being implemented by the firm’s chief executive Bob Andrews, who is six months in the post. It also includes rebrand for the business and a national print and broadcast advertising campaign.

Founded in 1905 to specifically treat postal workers suffering from tuberculosis, Benenden now has more than 800,000 members and aims to recruit further members over the next 12-months.

Bridging the gap between private healthcare and an overstretched NHS, the mutual will be renamed Benenden Health – to clearly position it as a healthcare provider.

Mr Andrews said: “Benenden has a fantastic heritage, but the name has negligible impact on people.

“Simply adding the word ‘health’ to our title will help us tell our story better and increase awareness of our business among members of the public.”

The provider aims to grow its membership by around seven percent in the second half of 2018, which will cement its position as the country’s largest mutual healthcare organisation.

A new educational national TV campaign has aired this month – Benenden’s first in two years. The advert is being broadcast on 762 slots booked across regional ITV channels and nationally on Channel 4 across two weeks.

The advert kicks-off during Innocent, a highly publicised ITV drama, and will also be aired during other prime time ITV shows including Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Love Your Garden NHS Special, NHS Live at 70, Ninja Warrior and Lorraine.

On Channel 4, the advert will air during high viewership programmes, including the F1 qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix and Sunday Brunch.

Mr Andrews said: “We have assisted our members more than 78,000 times and funded £66 million worth of healthcare in the last year alone. Those people may not have had private medical insurance and would have turned to the NHS, which faces several well-documented challenges. Today’s announcement marks the first stage of a new era at Benenden Health, one that will enable us to benefit even more people around the UK in a sustainable, affordable way.”