Growth of Private Healthcare

Page may contain affiliate links. Please see terms for details.

Rusty Nails

Country Member
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/mar/02/private-healthcare-boom-two-tier-system-uk

It is worrying that the NHS, having worked so hard to help fight the pandemic, is now facing the challenge of a lot more people seeking private healthcare as a result of perceived failures in its handling of the more usual health problems of the nation, as shown by waiting lists and delays in diagnosis, specialist treatment and operations.

I am slightly conflicted on this issue as I believe the country benefits from a strong, effective NHS and am happy to pay even more in taxes to support it, but for selfish reasons am on the border of paying for private consultation and treatment if necessary.

I have been on the waiting list since referral by my optician to see an eye specialist for 125 weeks (the time I was told it would be) and after a phone call last week was told that they still cannot give a date. My wife has been told by the doctor that she is showing signs of some very serious problems but she is likely to have to wait for up to two months for tests and consultation with a specialist.

My prostate cancer diagnosis last year was handled really well by the NHS, as are most emergency cases after diagnosis, but things are clearly very patchy in other areas and I must admit that, when it comes to the health of me and my family, my principles will take a back seat.

To ease my conscience I can tell myself that I will be reducing the pressures on the NHS, but on the other hand if more people get private healthcare and are happy with the outcomes it can only lead to a growth in private healthcare and acceleration of the two-tier approach.

I know that sorting the problems of the NHS is not a quick fix after years of neglect/mishandling by governments of all persuasions to different extents, and I certainly do not think the Tories are going to improve it, but I worry that this could be a turning point in the Private vs NHS debate.
 
My simple world view is that every person that goes privately moves somebody less fortunate up the waiting list.
I wish it wasn't so, but that's the reality....
 
I think most of us would rather use the NHS than go private but 125 weeks is crazy. Noone would blame you for paying to get to the bottom of you or your wife's health issues; these aren't minor things and the anxiety of waiting alone can make you miserable.
 

Milkfloat

Active Member
Trust me - I don't like paying the thousands in tax in year that I pay for my private cover on top of normal contributions of which some go to the NHS. However, without doing that I would still be in agony with the various aliments I have suffered over the years. I am still waiting for the NHS to get back to me about the severe pain clinic that my GP referred me too just under a year ago. The NHS is chronically underfunded.
 

Ian H

Guru
Can you explain a bit more about how this situation is a 'challenge' to the NHS?
To be more specific, it's a challenge to the majority of folk who have to rely on the NHS if the government sees the increase in private sector healthcare use as an opportunity to degrade funding further. You'll see an increase in health inequality and a further decline in overall health and longevity – and the UK already ranks fairly low in health outcomes within Europe.
 

spen666

Active Member
To be more specific, it's a challenge to the majority of folk who have to rely on the NHS if the government sees the increase in private sector healthcare use as an opportunity to degrade funding further. You'll see an increase in health inequality and a further decline in overall health and longevity – and the UK already ranks fairly low in health outcomes within Europe.

A huge leap there.

There is no suggestion that governments are degrading funding to the NHS
Funding for the NHS has risen in real terms from £111.4 billion in 2007/2008 to £176.4billion in 2021/2022 That is a real term increase of over 58%
If the government did reduce NHS funding because of number of patients going private, then this would be a problem, but the evidence does not support your fanciful notion

Data taken from Kings Fund Website
https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-in-a-nutshell/nhs-budget
 

Ian H

Guru
A huge leap there.

There is no suggestion that governments are degrading funding to the NHS
Funding for the NHS has risen in real terms from £111.4 billion in 2007/2008 to £176.4billion in 2021/2022 That is a real term increase of over 58%
If the government did reduce NHS funding because of number of patients going private, then this would be a problem, but the evidence does not support your fanciful notion

Data taken from Kings Fund Website
https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-in-a-nutshell/nhs-budget
Any possible effects of increased private healthcare provision are not addressed there. But otherwise, if only it were that simple –
https://fullfact.org/health/spending-english-nhs/
 
OP
OP
Rusty Nails

Rusty Nails

Country Member
Can you explain a bit more about how this situation is a 'challenge' to the NHS?

I can.
 

presta

Member
My experience of the private sector is that they're only interested in queue jumpers and the worried well, if you're looking for anything as contentious as a second opinion they don't want to know.

I had an account with Babylon a while back but it was a waste of money, every time I asked them anything they just told me to go to my (NHS) GP. It was the same when I wanted a CT scan reviewed, every private health company in the UK refused. More recently I'm trying to get an appointment with a neurologist, but again, I can't get one without an NHS referral and even if I do they won't review NHS MRI scans.

I had a second opinion via the NHS a decade ago, and it was patently obvious that the consultant had already been told what diagnosis was required. Last Monday I asked the optician to refer me to a neurologist, with the same result: "Go and ask your GP".

I'm currently on an urgent cardiology referral, but when I got the letter to book an appointment last September they told me to call back in 8 months, so I just called 5 minutes ago and was told to wait again, but with no time limit this time.
 
OP
OP
Rusty Nails

Rusty Nails

Country Member
Except you can't, because you don't really understand the article you read and instead went for a simple, on message, government bashing headline backed up with a Guardian link to get some likes from others.

Maybe you should work up to the Guardian and try First News for a few weeks to get your head around stuff?

I wrote the post based on my and friends'/family experiences and a range of articles I have read online. I chose that one as typifying the issue.

If you actually read my post, rather than jump in with your usual knee-jerk reaction, you would have understood that I was critical of all recent governments' impact upon the NHS, specifically mentioning the Tories because they have held the reins for the past 12 years and preside over the current problems. If you think I was (Tory) government bashing that says more about your prejudices than mine.

Thanks for the tip about First News. I'll bow to your expertise about its content.
 

Craig the cyclist

Über Member
I wrote the post based on my and friends'/family experiences and a range of articles I have read online. I chose that one as typifying the issue.

If you actually read my post, rather than jump in with your usual knee-jerk reaction, you would have understood that I was critical of all recent governments' impact upon the NHS, specifically mentioning the Tories because they have held the reins for the past 12 years and preside over the current problems. If you think I was (Tory) government bashing that says more about your prejudices than mine.

Thanks for the tip about First News. I'll bow to your expertise about its content.

Post us up a couple more then, so we can see the range of views you are taking on this issue.
 
Top Bottom