Home Health The big rush to go private! Number of Brits paying for hospital treatment hits record 900,000

The big rush to go private! Number of Brits paying for hospital treatment hits record 900,000

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 The big rush to go private! Number of Brits paying for hospital treatment hits record 900,000

A record number of Britons left the NHS last year to go private amid long delays.

Around 898,000 people in the UK sought treatment in private hospitals in 2023, figures reveal today.

It marks a seven percent increase on the previous record of 836,000 spectators set in 2022 and a 15 percent increase in admissions before the pandemic.

Long waits for routine NHS procedures have been blamed for a growing trend, with 7.54 million treatments waiting.

The £150bn-a-year service is creaking, hit by a staff exodus, Covid-induced delays and a series of strikes.

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Data on the number of Britons leaving the NHS was published by the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), which shares information on the performance and fees of consultants and private hospitals.

Northern Ireland saw the largest increase in private hospital admissions, up 56 per cent on 2022.

Scotland followed, with an increase of 11 percent. Admissions in Wales and England grew at a similar level, up seven and six per cent respectively.

The increase in demand for paid care is driven by continued growth in insured treatments: 621,000 versus 561,000 in 2022.

Experts believe this is because more businesses and households have turned to private healthcare plans to safeguard the health of their employees due to increasing difficulties in receiving treatment on the NHS.

Meanwhile, 278,000 admissions were self-funded by patients in 2023, up from 275,000 in 2022.

However, in the fourth quarter of the year self-pay receipts fell slightly, by 2 percent.

Experts have previously attributed this drop to the cost of living crisis and a reduction in private cosmetic treatments in the UK amid a rise in Brits traveling abroad for liposuction and breast augmentations.

PHIN chief executive Dr Ian Gargan said: “These record figures show the important role the private sector plays in the country’s health, something recognized by all major political parties.”

‘With NHS waiting lists at record levels, a growing number of people are looking for alternatives and choosing to use the private sector rather than risk long waits and potentially seeing their health deteriorate.

‘The number of people using private health insurance or choosing to ‘pay their own way’ for their procedure has increased despite difficult economic conditions in recent years, demonstrating the importance people place on their health.

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Cataract surgery was the most popular private procedure (71,575) in 2023, followed by chemotherapy (66,210).

Hip and knee replacements, colonoscopies and endoscopies were other highly sought-after options.

This is despite some treatments costing more than £15,000. Some providers offer pay monthly deals.

The latest NHS data shows that 309,300 people in England had been waiting more than 52 weeks to start routine hospital treatment at the end of March, up from 305,050 at the end of February.

The Government and NHS England have set an ambition to eliminate all waits longer than a year by March 2025.

But there were still 48,968 patients who had been waiting more than 65 weeks to start treatment at the end of March, up from 75,004 in February.

Last week, the British Medical Association (BMA) also announced that junior doctors in England will go on a six-day strike from 7am on June 27 to 7am on July 2, just 48 hours before the general election. .

More than a million appointments and operations have been canceled due to the wave of NHS strikes that began in 2022.

The B.M.A. claims its demands are for “pay restoration” as previous NHS pay rises for doctors have not kept pace with inflation since 2008.

This is the eleventh doctors’ strike after the first in March 2023.

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