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20% of NHS waiting list patients choose private healthcare

A new major survey by Engage Britain revealed that over 20% of NHS waiting list patients have turned to private healthcare as strain on NHS hospitals continues to grow.

The survey, which polled over 2,000 UK adults, showed that while 72% of respondents trust and view the NHS positively, overall experiences of using the NHS have deteriorated due to long waiting times for treatment and poor working conditions for NHS staff. The majority of NHS patients on waiting lists are currently waiting over 18 weeks for appointments, with almost 300,000 reaching 52 weeks.

The latest government figures show over 5.5 million UK adults on NHS waiting lists for treatment, with Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid warning this could grow to as high as 13 million within months as a result of pandemic backlogs.

So what does this mean for private healthcare demand? With NHS-funded treatment and surgery within independent hospitals being associated with shorter waiting times, lower readmission rates and shorter hospital stays, and studies showing a shift in public concern away from crime and the economy towards healthcare, poverty and Covid-19, the Association of British Insurers suggests that demand for private healthcare could grow by over 5% between 2021 and 2026.

Recent studies by the University of Birmingham showed reassuring results for public confidence in independent hospitals as a result of perceived efficiency and assistance with NHS backlogs.

The delivery of healthcare in the UK is changing. Be it a move to more direct paying patients, remote diagnosis or PE/consultant backed clinics, MedicaInsure is here to offer the help and advice you need.

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