New data shows thousands more patients are paying to have surgery in private as NHS waiting lists grow.
There has been a 30 per cent increase in patients self-financing for their operations in private hospitals between April and June this year as compared to the same months in 2019.
Data from the Private Health Information Network (PHIN), which collects data on private hospital activity for the public, showed that 65,000 people paid for treatment privately during a three-month period.
Procedures such as cataract surgery and hip replacement are now more self-funded than paid through insurance.
For the first half of 2021, self-funded patients made up a third of all private hospital admissions for the first time.
NHS waiting lists have increased to a record level with a total of 5.7 million people waiting for routine procedures on the NHS.
A new YouGov poll conducted by PHIN found that one in five people say they are now more likely to opt for private healthcare after the pandemic because of concerns about the length of NHS waiting lists.
For hip replacements, 2,200 people paid for their procedure through insurance between April and June 2019, while 1,700 paid for themselves. This divide has now completely reversed as 4,700 people have switched hips using their own money, compared to 2,500 using insurance.
During 2019, 8,100 people paid with their own money for cataract surgery in three months but now it has increased to 11,400.
Established in the wake of competition and market authority scrutiny over the lack of transparent data in private hospital care, PHIN warns the public to conduct thorough research before spending their money.
It said patients should ask for details of “package prices” and use its website to check advisory fees and activity at hospitals they are considering.
PHIN Chief Executive Matt James told Granthshala It was not possible to know whether the increase in self-paying private patients was being driven by NHS patients to go private, but he said: “It seems that some patients are accessing private healthcare for the first time, Particularly for general procedures including primary hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery. Private activity for these procedures is paid for directly rather than using insurance.
“That said, about a million private procedures were lost during the pandemic, so there is some hold for patients waiting for private treatment.
“Our survey with YouGov indicates that more people are willing to use private services than before the pandemic, and in large part driven by growing NHS waiting lists. With the rise in self-pays it may be that we are seeing new people accessing private healthcare for alternative treatments. “
He said the number of patients being treated by private health care was relatively small. In 2019 there were 10.1 million elective procedures in the NHS compared to around 750,000 private procedures.
Mr James said: “Even a relatively minor change from the NHS would seem significant given its relative size to the private sector. The data we have so far does not show that for most procedures, although there is some evidence that it is some of the most common and May occur in high-profile elective procedures such as hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery.”
A YouGov survey for PHIN found 22 per cent of people said the pandemic had made them more likely to use a private hospital, with seven in 10 people expressing concern about NHS wait times as they would when going private Will consider
Mr James said: “With hundreds of thousands of NHS and private alternative operations lost to the pandemic in 2020, and the constant waiting lists in the news, it is perhaps not surprising to see people considering self-financing private treatment, even if They may not have done so. So first.
“We would ask everyone thinking about this route to make sure they are fully informed so that they make the right choice for themselves and avoid surprises.
“It’s important to ask the right questions about costs as well as the performance of consultant and hospital facilities. Our website can help people research their personal health care options, leaving them with a sometimes confusing system, especially The form helps self-payers navigate.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /