Waiting times encouraging private treatment

A new report has suggested that increasing numbers of patients are turning towards private treatment because of delays for treatment within the NHS.

Intuition Communications, which undertook the research, said that profit-driven hospital firms are currently experiencing up to 25 per cent year-on-year rises in the number of uninsured ‘self-payers’, as a direct result of long waiting times in the financially burdened NHS. The largest increases device from procedures to relieve disabling condition - an intervention with well-publicised lengthy waits in the NHS.

The total number of patients in England waiting for planned hospital care within 18 weeks exceeded four million in July 2017 after NHS England and ministers controversially relaxed the target.

Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth said: “This increase in patients paying for private treatment is because of the underfunding and neglect of the NHS under the Tories. It’s a sad indictment of how bad things really are. Given Theresa May has now abandoned the 18-week target for treatments like hip replacement and cataract operations, we fear this will drive even more vulnerable people into the hands of private healthcare some forced to pay as much as £14,880 for a hip replacement.”