Benenden Healthcare Society

Health and wellbeing mutual.

A woman wearing pink holds a fresh succulent plant
  • Involves: members, professionals
  • Cost: £-£££ (depending on service)

The Benenden Healthcare Society Limited is a mutual, founded in 1905. Its original mission in the early 20th century was to provide affordable treatment for postal workers suffering from tuberculosis. Today, it provides many discretionary healthcare services to almost 850,000 members.

Benenden Health was founded in 1905 by a post office worker, Charles Garland, in order to help post office employees affected by tuberculosis. Almost immediately, 30,000 fellow workers joined the scheme. In 1907 Benenden Hospital was opened in Kent. In May 2014, a $75.13 million USD (45 million GBP) redevelopment of the same hospital was launched. In January 2013 Benenden Health opened up its membership to any UK resident aged over 16.

Better Health & Social Care. How are Co-ops & Mutuals Boosting Innovation & Access Worldwide? (2014)

LPS Productions

How it works

  • A mutual uses the basic insurance principle of members paying into a shared pot of money. When a member needs services or treatment, payment comes from the shared pot.
  • It’s a powerful principle – with Benenden running its own hospital!
  • Benenden branches are groups of members to give them a say in how the organisation is run. Every member is allocated to a branch on joining.

100 Years of Benenden

100 years of Benenden infographic by Benenden