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Do you need a private GP


Insurance schemes can cover GPs, hospital treatment or both

The latest Nuffield Trust research into NHS performance paints a slow but steady deterioration in key areas such as GP access and GP waiting times.

The percentage of patients who felt it was “fairly or very” easy to get through to their local GP has now dropped from 81 per cent in 2012 to 68 per cent in 2019, whilst the proportion who said it was “not at all easy” to get through on the phone jumped from five per cent to 11 per cent over the same period.

Access to GP surgeries is getting harder too-in 2019, one quarter said that their appointment took place ‘a week or more later’ from the date of the call, accordingto the same survey.

In order to get the diagnosis and treatment that we need, the first port of call is our GP. For older and retired patients quick access to a local GP is often very important to stop health deteriorating – it is sad but true, the older we get, the longer things take to mend, especially if they are not given prompt treatment!

Having prompt access to a private GP can be a massive help when your circumstances mean that you can’t afford to wait.

All of which begs the question, should older patients now consider as an alternative using a private GP, especially if this comes as standard as part of private health insurance? The advantages of
private health are well known; more reliable appointment times, fast access and often an ability to avoid long NHS waiting times. However for many, loyalty to the NHS is still strong and many of us will still
have a strong positive opinion about NHS hospital treatment.

Innovations in the way private medical insurance policies are now being sold may help here – companies such as National Friendly, the Bristol based insurer, now allow clients to purchase policies which focus separately on initial diagnosis and treatment, hospital treatment or both.

Wayne Carter, Head of Sales and Marketing at National Friendly explains that, “Our broker network, which is responsible for selling insurance to the public and advising on the best choice for a customer, is a vital source of information for us. They tell us that customers hate delays but don’t always want to replace all NHS services.”

“Customers should always have a choice which reflects their personal needs, tailored to their budget. We also feel that plans with private GP cover are a brilliant way to kick-start the road to recovery.”

So a private healthcare plan which gives access to a private GP and common therapies like physiotherapy might be the safety net you are looking for.

You can opt to stay within the NHS umbrella for any hospital treatment that may be required. Alternatively, you can of course buy private health insurance for this too if you are worried about the prospect of sometimes lengthy wait times for operations such as knee and hip replacements.

For more information on private medical insurance, visit: (


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