More people self-funding routine operations as NHS waiting lists hit record levels

pharmafile | October 25, 2021 | News story | Sales and Marketing  

New data from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) reveals that people are increasingly opting to self-fund private treatment. This coincides with a new poll from YouGov, where one in five people say they are more likely to use private healthcare following a post-pandemic surge in NHS waiting lists.

The most recent NHS figures show waiting lists of up to 5.7 million.

The figures from PHIN show that, in the first half of 2021, people self-funding hospital-based private treatment made up a third of all private admissions for the first time. Figures show that for the quarter running from April to June 2019, 50,000 people opted to self-fund private treatment, while for the corresponding months in 2021, following the easing of pandemic restrictions, 65,000 chose this route.

This data indicates a rise of 30 percent in people self-funding treatment between these two periods.

2,200 people paid for their hip-replacement procedure through insurance in the quarter from April to June 2019, while 1,700 self-paid. Figures for the corresponding quarter in 2021 indicate a reversal in the way people fund their treatment, with 4,700 using their own money compared to 2,500 using insurance. 

PHIN is encouraging people to research their care provider and payment options before accessing private treatment. It adds that people who are considering self-paying should ask whether their hospital and consultant offer a ‘package price’ where costs for common private treatments are outlined from the outset.

Matt James, Chief Executive of the Private Healthcare Information Network, said:   

“With hundreds of thousands of NHS and private elective operations lost in 2020 due to the pandemic, and waiting lists consistently in the news, it is perhaps unsurprising to see people considering self-funding private treatment even if they had not done so previously.     

“It’s important to ask the right questions about costs as well as the performance of the consultant and hospital facilities. Our website can help people research their private healthcare options, helping them navigate a confusing system, particularly those self-paying.”  

Lina Adams

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