Between April-June 2021 sixty-five-thousand people opted to pay for their own treatment rather than wait on the ever-growing NHS wait list. A twenty-three percent increase since the same period 2 years prior.
Knee and hip replacements as well as cataract surgery are amongst the top procedures with the largest wait times, with some people waiting over 2 years to reach the theatre. The NHS have a target wait time of eighteen weeks for joint replacement surgery but due to COVID this target has been unattainable.
On average, the NHS carries out three-hundred and thirty hip replacement surgeries a day, this fell to just 2 during the height of the pandemic back in March 2020. These statistics showed that more than fifty-eight-thousand people went without their surgery and went back onto the waiting list during that time.
A poll carried out by YouGov has shown that 1 in 5 people are more likely to consider paying for their healthcare since the pandemic.
Four-thousand- seven hundred people opted to fund their own hip replacement surgery with a further two-thousand-five hundred using their insurance to go through the private route and skip the queue.
Although the waiting times for patients on the NHS are a prevalent issue, the increase in those choosing to go private provides a small relief on the already struggling health care system.
Some healthcare professionals say that by choosing to go private where you can, for example for a one off consultation or a routine operation, you are allowing the NHS to slowly make its way through the already existing waiting list without adding additional pressure.
Whilst not as extensive as the NHS wait times, the pandemic has also caused a waiting list in private health care too with patients facing longer delays than usual for procedures.
Private Healthcare Information Network Chief Executive Matt James says that “around a quarter of a million private procedures were lost during the pandemic, so there is also some catching up to do for patients waiting for private treatment.”