For many years the NHS has been considered the ultimate public healthcare system. Taxpayer money and government subsidies meant complex surgeries and expensive treatment was available for everyone. The result was that private healthcare was generally only an option for the more affluent who paid for additional privacy and convenience rather than better treatment.
But that is no longer the case.
The UK government published a report in May 2021, which found that the recent global pandemic had “exacerbated existing problems” in the NHS. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the NHS was already struggling. Low pay combined with the impact on immigration caused by the Brexit agreement meant there was already a shortage of skilled doctors and nurses. This means existing staff were overwhelmed, overworked, underpaid and unable to provide the same quality of care.
Then, the pandemic hit. Work burnout became worse, and the NHS, like many healthcare systems, was overwhelmed with patients, not just struggling to fight COVID-19 but with varying other common illnesses and health problems. The result is that as we look to move on from the pandemic, the NHS is not in a strong position to help the average person.
How paying for private healthcare has changed
Historically, private healthcare was limited to those who wanted to choose specific doctors to carry out procedures with an added level of discretion at a time that suits. People paid for private care because these procedures were cosmetic or non-essential and therefore not covered by the NHS. Alternatively, many people chose private healthcare because they required an extended stay in hospital for aftercare demanding additional support or because the procedure had a very long waiting list, leading to further complications.
However, more and more people are seeing the benefit of going private for all their healthcare needs. As NHS staff become overworked, the difference in care quality between private and public hospitals is becoming more pronounced.
Prices are becoming more and more reasonable as insurance companies and specialist care consultants offer bespoke packages, so you never pay for insurance on health issues that you aren’t at risk of having. Healthcare plans can be designed with your needs in mind meaning you get a better standard of care where and when you need it without waiting or worrying that your doctor is overworked.
Private healthcare is no longer a luxury for the wealthy; it’s a reality for anyone who wants to take their health and the health of their loved ones seriously.
Getting private healthcare
With more and more people choosing to trust their health and wellbeing to private practices, the industry is booming. For many people who just want to be sure their health is a top priority, it can be overwhelming trying to select how and where to get treatment and coverage.
There is plenty of misleading information online, which means many people end up paying too much for their healthcare plan and cover or get the wrong coverage. This has led to a rise in specialist healthcare brokers who offer free, impartial advice making private healthcare more accessible and affordable for everyone.
By working with specialist brokers that act as a source of information and support, people can build a healthcare plan that works for their individual needs without spending a fortune. Brokers can suggest the most appropriate plan and will search for the best deal with larger insurers like AXA, AVIVA, BUPA, CIGNA, Vitality Health and WPA as well as offers from smaller independent insurers.
Private healthcare insurance comparison websites offer some assessment and evaluation in terms of standard plans and packages, which allows people to search for the best option at home. However, using a UK healthcare broker means gaining access to customisable plans, independent reviews, ongoing support and superior customer service.
Getting private healthcare has never been easier, with more options available than ever. As the NHS continues to struggle under the weight of the global pandemic, the impact of Brexit, and budget cuts, the private healthcare industry in the UK will continue to expand to provide better care at competitive prices.