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Health

Can private health insurance buy peace of mind?

 
 
 
 
 

TICKLING THE ear with a small electric current could rebalance the nervous system in over-55s and help them age more healthily, research suggests.

The latest NHS performance statistics published in August 2019 contain some harsh truths which may well prompt some of usto look again at private health insurance to ask if this is potentially an option. Asthe years pass, oftenwe are just not up to the marathon of long waiting times, so does private health insurance offer a way out?

In a survey of 901 GPs across the UK, Pulse Magazine found that the average waiting time for routine appointments is now almost 15 days – the first time it has ever exceeded a fortnight.

Equally, the latest NHS data presents a worrying picture - the number of patients who waited more than four hours to be seen in Accident and Emergency (A&E) was up 32%, from 208,083 to 275,526. The number of A&E patients in England waiting on trolleys for more than four hours to be admitted rose to the highest level since records began. Whilst many of these will have been serious emergencies, it is also a fact that A&Edepartments cater for many non-emergency admissions which might otherwise go via a GP, were the resources there. Typically, these are defined as “type 3 and type 4” cases. On the face of it, private health insurance offers very important lifestyle related benefits which at least one provider, National Friendly, thinks add up to a powerful argument for buying additional cover to hold alongside day to day NHS protection, especially nowadays as waiting lists grow.

Wayne Carter, Head of Sales and Marketing at National Friendly summarises the benefits as follows, “We regularly see the desire to jump waiting lists as a prime motivator for buying private health insurance – if you are in your 60s and suffering with deliberating pain with a knee or hip that needs replacing, why would you wait up to six months and waste precious retirement time, if you could get it attended to more quickly? Other benefits of private health insurance are, in my opinion, now equally important. Things like consistency of treatment, the sense of privacy from having your own room and of course the fact that some drugs and treatments are just not available on the NHS for cost reasons but they may well be available via your insurer. I really do believe that as we all get older, so our impatience grows.”

The data supplied by Pulse’s other research shows the waiting time situation may only get worse, as more and more GP surgeries close. GP surgeries are the first port of call for many patients and likely to grow in importance as the population continues to age. In 2018, according to Pulse, almost 140 surgeries closed, some eight times the number closing six years earlier in 2013. It is estimated that this will affect a record half a million patients.

Carter believes policies like National Friendly’s, which offer a choice between inpatient or outpatient cover, might well buy peace of mind in these circumstances.

For more information on private medical insurance, visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/do -you-need-private-medicalinsurance

For more information on National Friendly and its products visit www.nationalfriendly.co.uk/products-services/private-medical-insurance/

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

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