It has been widely documented that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant backlog in elective surgery and specialist lead care that may well take years to resolve.
The NHS will of course continue to prioritise life-saving care but the harsh reality is that many more people will have to live much longer with poor quality of life while waiting for medical services. The consequence of this is that untreated medical conditions may lead to further health complications, thereby causing yet more delays.
What do you need to know and what are the facts? The British Medical Association published a review in January 2021 that confirms:
- 3 million fewer elective procedures
- 1 million fewer out-patient consultations
A key metric to measure NHS performance is how long it takes to see a specialist following a GP referral. As of January, there were approximately 1.5 million people who had been waiting for over 18 weeks.
What are your options?
- Trust the NHS and join the queue.
- Bypass the NHS and pay for treatment yourself. This can prove a very costly option for anything but the most basic of treatment.
- Ensure yourself from the risk by implementing a private medical insurance policy.
How much does treatment cost?
The cost of medical treatment can vary but the agreed fact is that medical treatment is expensive.
Routine treatments that are taken for granted on the NHS will cost much more than people often realise (Laing Buisson International Limited – national average costs):
- Full hip replacement – £10,500
- Cataract operation – £2,400 (many people will need both eyes treated)
- Aortic heart valve replacement – £20,000
Surely the NHS will help me if I get cancer?
The simple answer to this is YES, the NHS will absolutely step in and offer treatment for cancer. However, as with everything, the devil is in the detail.
Many people believe that the NHS will offer all treatments that are available but unfortunately this is not always the case, despite their best efforts.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) regulates and approves treatments that can be provided by the NHS. As such there are many treatments that are authorised to treat cancer but not always available on the NHS.
These treatments are often expensive and in most cases are actually funded by private healthcare providers.
How much does Private Medical Insurance cost?
Private healthcare is generally much more affordable than most people think.
A realistic premium for someone in their 60s would be between £60 – £80 per month, subject to location. Even a basic policy would offer the following standard benefits:
- Full in-patient
- Full day-patient
- Scans (CT/ PET/ MRI)
- Full cancer care
- National hospital access
Why should you consider this now?
The undeniable fact is that as we get older, the likelihood of treatment increases dramatically. There is a significant increase in heart problems, cancer and surgical care that is needed.
As such, it is sensible to implement a policy before you need treatment. After all, you would not try to insure your house after it has already burnt down.
Medical insurance is absolutely unique in the insurance market because the question is not if you will need care, but when. Therefore, healthcare can be viewed as an investment in you and not wholly as an insurance product.
Private healthcare provides a very realistic option for many people to avoid lengthy treatment delays and access some of the very best professionals in the world.
When viewed against the current pressures upon the NHS, private healthcare merits strong consideration.