The changing face of healthcare in the UK

Coronavirus has changed every aspect of our lives: how we work, how we shop, and how we socialise.

It also appears to be changing how we look after our health. According to a recent national survey* a growing number of people in the UK are considering taking out private medical insurance, with 27% of those polled saying they have thought about paying privately for healthcare, compared with only 15% before the pandemic struck.

The NHS response to the coronavirus outbreak has been heroic. The skills and dedication of hospital staff have saved many lives, but to enable the health service to meet the unprecedented demand caused by COVID-19, many specialist treatments and routine operations had to be postponed. Concern over lengthening NHS waiting times is the main reason why people are now thinking about taking out private medical insurance.

Of the 1,000 people questioned for the survey, three-quarters said it was long NHS waiting lists that were their main concern, while 67% were worried about the NHS being able to promptly deliver routine care.

These concerns seem to be well-founded as medical experts agree that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on NHS services could be with us for some considerable time.

In June this year, health bosses warned it would take four years to restore the NHS services to pre-COVID levels. This will inevitably result in much longer delays for diagnostic tests, while it is feared the number of people waiting for operations could rise from 4.2 million to 10 million by the end of 2020.** Moreover, these depressing forecasts don’t take into account the further disruption to NHS services that a second wave of COVID-19 would cause.

Private medical insurance avoids the anxiety of having to wait months for tests and treatment. Outpatient and inpatient care are both covered, with patients being able to choose where they are treated from a wide selection of private or NHS hospitals all over the UK.

Patients whose care involves being admitted to hospital overnight or for a longer period can stay in a private room that has television and wi-fi, with relaxed visiting times for the convenience of family and friends.

Most providers of private health insurance offer a range of medical plans that can be tailored to meet individual and family needs. For a relatively modest financial outlay, more and more people are discovering that they can receive medical care when they need it and avoid the worry that comes from waiting for NHS treatment.

It’s not just individuals who are turning to the private sector for their healthcare needs. Affordability and its growing popularity is why a rising number of companies and other organisations are offering private healthcare as a major employment or membership benefit.

Private health insurance can’t prevent you from falling ill, but it does offer the peace of mind that comes from knowing that in the event you do need medical care, you will be diagnosed and treated in the quickest possible time. In these uncertain times that is something that many people seem happy to pay for.

* Consumer Intelligence survey ** The Guardian 27 June 2020

HMCA only offer medical plans to membership groups and can offer up to a 40% discount off the underwriter’s standard rates. This is a comprehensive plan which provides generous cash benefits for surgery and other charges. As an additional benefit, BAPN has agreed to offer members a further 5% discount if you join HMCA instead of them receiving a sponsorship fee.

Non-members, for further information and quotation contact HMCA by telephone on 01423 799949 or, if a BAPN member, visit the exclusive HMCA BAPN area of the members-only area of our website.

HMCA/S PLC (trading as Hospital and Medical Care Association, HMCA and HMCA Members) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN:307587). HMCA/s PLC is a company registered in England, company number: 01362094, registered office: Beech Hall, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 0EA.


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