Private Medical Insurance Bolsters NHS
NHS waiting lists are at their highest level since records began and now concerns are growing that we could end up with a two-tier healthcare system as more people look to the private sector to accommodate their health needs.
With mass cancellations of routine operations all but inevitable this winter, those that have the capacity are either self-funding treatment or investing in private medical insurance. Unfortunately, those that don’t have little option but to continue to rely on the brilliant, but struggling NHS. The reality is that the ongoing coronavirus crisis is not just highlighting pre-existing health inequalities, but exacerbating them.
Speaking about the current situation, Tim Gardner, from the Health Foundation think tank, said: “Covid-19 has not impacted everyone equally, and there is clearly a risk that the backlog in routine hospital treatment is going to add to those inequalities if some people are able to get treatment faster because they’re able to pay.”
Health insurance Uptake INCREASing
According to price comparison website Compare the Market, private health insurance sales over the past seven months have increased 40% year-on-year. Furthermore, the company believes that demand will continue to exceed pre-pandemic levels over the winter, as many people look to benefit from the additional reassurance private healthcare can afford.
Indeed, recent research shows how the Covid pandemic has increased interest in protection products. This isn’t really surprising when you consider that it is becoming more and more challenging to get prompt access to care in the NHS.
But while postponing routine procedures is an unfortunate outcome of the current situation, of more concern is the fact that cancer screenings are also becoming backlogged. As a result, LV= said it expects to see a jump in the number of Critical Illness cancer claims in 2021.
Now that we are in winter and seasonal flu puts additional pressures on the NHS, the second wave of the virus that we are witnessing could massively impact the NHS and the people who rely on it. New figures released by NHS England in November show that year-long waits for surgery are now at their highest level since 2008.
The figures reveal that in September, 139,545 patients in England had been waiting more than 12 months for surgery such as a hip and knee replacements or cataract removals. The NHS constitution states that everyone needing non-urgent treatment should get it within 18 weeks.
With more good news in the press this week relating to Covid vaccine success, fingers are crossed that we will soon be able to defeat this virus and return to some normality. Even if that is the case, the virus will have left in it’s wake an upended healthcare system that will take years to recover, if ever. Please do let us know if you are interested to know more about the benefits and costs of private medical insurance.