There has been a nearly 25% rise in self pay patients in recent years and this has come at no surprise. The NHS waiting lists for minor operations is getting longer and , as a result, patients are being recommended to go private, pay for the operation themselves and jump the long waiting list on NHS.
Almost three quarters of the NHS are turning patients away for hip surgeries, only referring those for an operation if they are in significant pain and for cataract surgery you would have to be almost blind to get the operation done on the NHS. Even if you do get on the operating list you could be waiting anything from 9 weeks, to a year for surgery. The largest increase in self pay patients have been in those to fix disabling condition, which have become increasingly hard for people in England to obtain on the NHS without a long wait.
Private healthcare offer surgery with a latest 1-2 weeks wait but a £15,000 price tag for the likes of a hip replacement. Although an attractive option that has been taken up by increased numbers, some people still won’t be able to use private healthcare as an option or don’t know that there are many payment options when opting into the private sector.
Some larger private healthcare providers have been sending their prices lists to GP surgeries in a bid to attract patients to the faster route as an alternative when they are rejected for operations by the NHS or put on a lengthy waiting list. This has only been distributed to a few GPs, but has been greeted with mixed reaction, for some it is reassuring that there are other options out there, and educates patients on their options moving forward, however the private price list is also being greeted with panic and worry, as people raise their concern that the NHS can’t cope with their patients and cannot afford to go private.
The government have continued to cut funds and ignore the growing issues in the NHS, and where the NHS declines, the private sector will continue to see rapid growth through desperation and being physically unable to live with disabling conditions. The continued demise of the NHS, is an opportunity for the private sector to take advantage of.