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One in eight UK adults using private medical care due to NHS delays | NHS

by Ozva Admin
One in eight UK adults using private medical care due to NHS delays | NHS

One in eight adults in the UK paid for private healthcare in the last year due to long delays in obtaining National Health Service treatment, renewing fears that the NHS is becoming “a two-tier system”.

“About one in eight (13%) adults reported that they had paid for private medical care, with 5% using private insurance and 7% paying for treatment themselves,” according to a new report by the National Statistics Office.

Patients also say that waiting for tests or treatment is taking a toll on them, even making their condition worse.

The ONS report is about how skyrocketing inflation and difficulties in accessing NHS care are affecting people’s lives.

Their survey of 2,510 adults across the UK found that one in five were waiting for an appointment, test or treatment at an NHS hospital. Of those who are in that situation:

  • Three-quarters said that their delay had had a strong (34%) or slightly (42%) negative impact on their life.

  • 36% said that waiting had worsened their condition.

  • 59% said it had harmed their well-being

  • A third said long waits had affected their mobility (33%) or their ability to exercise (34%).

David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), said: “With NHS waiting lists at record levels, it is no surprise that more people are paying for private treatment, including those who have never considered it before.

“Recent IHPN surveys showed that more than one in five people expect to use private healthcare in the next 12 months and nearly half of the public would consider private healthcare if they needed treatment.”

Dr Tony O’Sullivan, co-chairman of the Keep Our NHS Public campaign group, claimed the numbers using a private healthcare provider were “a damning indictment of the devastating effect this government’s mismanagement has had on the NHS for the past 12 years.”

“No one can blame people who are suffering for seeking more timely treatment under the circumstances, but it absolutely doesn’t have to be that way.

“The NHS was objectively rated the best in the world in 2010. Now UK healthcare is fast becoming a true two-tier system due to the degradation of one of our best assets and ultimately we are all poorer for it”.

Nearly one in five Britons surveyed said they had been on an NHS waiting list for more than a year.

The ONS report, whose survey work was carried out between November 22 and December 4, came to light on Thursday as nurses continued Strike in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in a dispute with the government over his salary.

Of the 20% who are on the waiting list, 70% said they had been waiting more than six months, and 18% were forced to wait a year or more.

It comes as figures from NHS England show the continued pressure facing the service this winter.

The number of patients treated in NHS hospitals on average this winter now stands at over 94,000 patients, the highest absolute number since winter 2014/15.

Although 94.4% of beds were occupied in the entire service last week, this level of bed occupancy is not atypical for winter, but it is still well above 85%. generally considered level be the point beyond which safety and efficiency are at risk.

One in six patients who arrived by ambulance waited more than an hour for emergency treatment in the week of December 11, which equates to 12,534 patients, by far the highest levels recorded in the last six winters.

One in three patients arriving at hospitals by ambulance now wait more than 30 minutes to be seen by A&E staff.

NHS England recorded its most active level of 111 calls outside of the first weeks of the Covid lockdown, partly prompted by parents concerned about the rise in strep A infections.

And other pressures are building, too: 1,248 general and critical care beds were required for flu patients each day last week compared to 772 the week before, an increase of 62%. Only 25 beds were occupied by flu patients in the same week last year.

Meanwhile, the number of adult beds closed due to norovirus increased by more than a fifth compared to the first week of December, with 457 beds closed last week.

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