For almost 75 years now, the National Health Service has been the envy of nations around the world that don’t have publicly funded healthcare. Founded in 1948, the NHS was seen as a means to ensure all citizens had equal access to healthcare, regardless of their financial status. Those who are poor are as eligible as those making six-figure incomes and it’s primarily funded through general taxes. With the availability of healthcare already being ‘paid for’ through taxes, why would anyone want to go private? That’s a very good question and one that is easily answered.
1. Significantly Reduced Wait Times
There has always been a backlog on getting appointments with NHS providers, but the Covid-19 global pandemic made a bad situation worse. The system is taxed beyond its ability to provide sufficient care quickly and this is, perhaps, the leading reason why so many UK citizens are opting for private healthcare services like those available through the Circle Health Group. Wait times for scheduling appointments are significantly reduced, especially with specialist consultants of which there are at least 1,656 in the UK. Add those numbers to the 54 hospitals in the group and you can clearly see how much faster scheduling appointments will be with private health insurance cover.
2. Choice of Hospitals, Providers and Specialists
This is another huge reason why so many UK residents are seeking private health insurance, private doctors and private specialists. Within the NHS you go where you are sent but when it’s a matter of ‘self-pay’ you can pick and choose your providers, specialists and hospitals. In fact, just having the ability to get in with a specialist at this point in time is something to be appreciated. Looking back again at the overburdened NHS resulting from a pandemic, it’s a wonder anyone is able to see their own provider let alone get an appointment with a specialist.
3. Private Rooms in Hospital
Speaking of doctors, specialists and hospitals, this is another reason why private healthcare is becoming increasingly attractive. Not only is the system overwhelmed with the sheer number of patients, but private rooms have never been a guarantee with the NHS. There may have been times when hospital populations were down, but most often patients shared rooms and were assigned bed numbers.
This also leads to one of the main concerns when being placed in a room with other patients. Other patients in the same room ‘could’ be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and that, in itself, is a huge worry. If you didn’t get admitted testing positive for Covid, chances are you could when rooming with other patients who also get visitors from the outside.
4. Greater Access to New Technologies
It always seems as though there is a delay in providing advances in anything whatsoever if government is involved. The average voter probably doesn’t really understand all the bureaucratic steps that must be taken before any investment can be made, and that’s just what advanced technologies amount to.
Given that technology is an investment and in need of widespread support within government, approving expenditures may or may not make it through all the channels necessary before it can be purchased. Private hospitals and providers aren’t subject to the same levels of bureaucracy, so they are likely to get approval on advanced technology expenditures much, much faster.
5. Enhanced Recovery with Specialist Aftercare
There is no doubt that recovery is often delayed because there are not enough services or healthcare workers to be made available for aftercare. Whether it’s therapy, ongoing treatments or even laboratory tests which must be run throughout recovery, the personnel just aren’t available to follow patients closely enough.
Here again, it all correlates to government-imposed budget parameters and due to that, the financial support for hiring healthcare workers just isn’t there. This is not to say that privately funded insurance isn’t suffering as well but rather private insurers have more liberty to edit and redefine budgets. In other words, it is easier for them to ‘borrow’ funds from one programmer to allocate money where a greater need is apparent.
6. Bespoke Treatment Plans
While it is the aim of every doctor to prescribe bespoke treatment plans for each of their patients, creating a bespoke treatment plan isn’t the issue. Both privately and publicly funded healthcare GPs and specialists prescribe specific treatments going forward. Unfortunately, public healthcare just doesn’t have the manpower to oversee those treatments. Private patients are afforded the benefit of being able to get access to their treatment team much faster and much more often.
So, there you have at least six reasons why there is a growing interest in private healthcare in the UK. Many, if not all, of these issues were present prior to Covid-19 but a global pandemic just made things worse for everyone involved in public health.