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NHS Waiting Lists lead to upsurge in Private Healthcare

The effects of the squeeze imposed on public spending within the Health Sector is resulting in more people electing to pay for their own care after having treatment delayed or denied altogether by their NHS primary care trust.

In recent surveys, influential industry figures said NHS budgetary pressure and the need to make £20bn of efficiency savings by 2015 had led to an increased demand for private healthcare. While the reasons were not given, experts said the NHS's need to cut costs was prompting patients to fund their own hip or knee replacements, hernia repairs and cataract removals.

Further proof of the delay in receiving treatment is the government's introduction of a new 18 week target for non urgent cases designed to tackle the growing number of patients on waiting lists but instead has left many patients waiting longer. Successive governments have been trying to tackle this problem without success. The estimated number of patients waiting over 18 weeks reached over 242,000 by November 2011 and some 11,000 have been waiting for up to a year.

There is a common belief that Private Healthcare expenditure ought to reduce in an economic recession. However, Aviva Healthcare reports an increase in the number of schemes being written which suggests the reverse is occurring.

The expansion of patients' right to choose where they are treated, either by the NHS or a private centre, could also be another contributory factor for an increase in the private healthcare market as the public become more open to receiving non-state funded treatment.

Additionally Private Healthcare Insurance doesn't have to be expensive. The overall cost can be managed or tailored provided individuals are prepared to carry a reasonable level of excess and cut out some of the fringe benefits provided by the majority of Healthcare Insurers. For example:

A policy with £150 excess in any one insurance year and an individual's willingness to accept NHS treatment, provided it can be delivered within 6 weeks from diagnosis, can reduce the overall cost of a standard policy by up to 45%*.

KTIB has access to a range of Private Medical insurance products from leading providers such as Bupa, Aviva and Axa PPP. For more information about the products available, please contact John Knowlden on 01603 218220.

* Aviva Health discounts – combination of £150 excess, outpatient benefit cap, no psychiatric and GP referred services. Correct January 2012.

Published 30th March 2012

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