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Private sector research explains lack of self-pay boom

More evidence is emerging on the failure of the private hospital sector to make the expected gains from the chronic crisis of the NHS and its lengthening waiting lists.

  • Far from booming, numbers of self-pay patients, those digging in to their savings or taking out loans to pay for private treatment, have remained stuck at around 70,000 per quarter since 2021.
  • Almost half (46%) of people who have used private healthcare said being unable to get an NHS appointment was a factor in their decision
  • Two thirds of people giving general support to the use of private providers did so with the provisos that it remained free of charge, and that the private provision was part of a drive to reduce waiting lists.

The latest is an opinion poll commissioned by “in-sourcing” company 18 Week Support, which provides staff who can use NHS facilities during evenings and weekends (when they are not being used by the NHS) to treat additional patients. This is precisely the spare capacity that has been utilised by the NHS itself in the past (notably the 2000s) to tackle ‘waiting list initiatives’, when sufficient funding was available to pay staff enhanced rates to work extra hours.

Full story in The Lowdown, 10 November 2023

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