NHS shortcomings driving patients to private healthcare

“Fixed price surgery” deals and price transparency encouraging patients to shop around for private operations.

A major new report released today (Monday 11th September 2017) highlights the rapid growth in the self-pay private healthcare care market, driven by pressure on NHS funding and lengthening waiting lists, and the wide variety of prices available to patients who are prepared to “shop around” for private treatment.

The report (which was compiled through an online survey, interviews with leading figures in the UK private healthcare market and the analysis of 6,500 prices for private operations, treatment and scans) was produced by Intuition Communication, publishers of Private Healthcare UK, the country’s leading web portal for private healthcare.

The main findings of the report include:

• Providers and commentators report annual growth of 15% to 25% in the number of patients without health insurance who are using savings or loan finance to fund private operations.
• The factors driving this growth are:
o Lengthening NHS waiting times which are prompting more patients to consider the private option;
o Demand management initiatives by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) which are reducing access to NHS care;
o The increasing cost of private medical insurance which is encouraging older people to fund private healthcare from savings.
o Marketing initiatives and financing schemes from the major providers.
• Significant price variations exist across the UK. Self-pay patients may benefit significantly by shopping around. The range of prices provided for some procedures varied by more than 100% from the lowest to the highest. For example:
o The published price of a hip replacement varies across the UK from £8,945 to £14,880.
o The published price of cataract surgery varies across the UK from £1,850 to £3,350.
o The published price of a single area MRI scan varies across the UK from £200 to £980.
• Growth in self-pay treatment is being seen particularly in orthopaedics, ophthalmology, general surgery, vascular, ENT and cancer treatment.
• Widely publicised restrictions on NHS funding for cancer drugs is fuelling the growth in self-pay oncology.

Keith Pollard, CEO of Intuition Communication says the Private Healthcare UK Self-Pay Market Study 2017 highlights the growth of affordable private healthcare:

“There’s no doubt that NHS waiting lists are at the heart of this growth in self-pay. However, the Competition and Market Authority’s investigation into the private healthcare sector is stimulating a new era of price transparency, increased price competition and greater availability of data for patients to compare what’s on offer from the private healthcare providers. This can only be good news for patients”

Learn more: http://www.privatehealth.co.uk/selfpay/

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