Half a million sign up for private health as NHS struggles continue

Private healthcare – Image Vitalii Vodolazskyi Shutterstock.com

Private health insurers signed on nearly half a million customers in 2022 as NHS struggles persist.

According to the Telegraph on Monday, January 9 the three largest companies BUPA, Aviva and Vitality all benefitted. Between the three they took on around 480,000 new patients.

The Private Healthcare Information Network, which tracks performance, said: “Uncertainty about when procedures will take place would certainly seem to be influencing people’s decision to plan for private care.”

News of delayed operations, bed blocking and overcrowded accident and emergency departments have all contributed to the swing towards private health. Although many obtain private health insurance as part of their employment package, an overwhelming number are said to have made the decision on their own.

Aviva said it added a further 100,000 customers during the year taking its total to 1.1 million, with a spokesperson saying: “We have noted many individuals considering private health insurance for the first time, including significant interest from younger age groups who traditionally would not have viewed private health insurance as a priority.

“We are also seeing improved retention rates as individuals and employers are prioritising keeping their valuable healthcare cover in place.”

Bupa has said that they added a similar number of customers taking their patient base to 2.4 million.

Vitality performed the strongest adding 180,000 new customers taking its tally to just under 1 million. A spokesperson said that demand had jumped by more than 20 per cent and that: “We have continued to see strong demand for health insurance.”

The “twindemic” taking its toll on the population, figures for December 2022 show the highest number of excess deaths since February 2021, the peak of deaths during the pandemic.

The government has taken action to try and relieve the pressure on the NHS but not everyone is convinced that the plans will work. Some believe going outside of the NHS for additional resources does little other than to reduce NHS capacity.

With many fearing that the government is looking to privatise the NHS through the backdoor, but perhaps not in the way intended with half a million signing up for private health.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]