The National Health Service (NHS) is the largest and oldest single-payer healthcare system in the world. Established in 1948, it’s there to provide healthcare to everyone in the UK regardless of wealth and personal circumstances.
It’s undoubtedly one of the UK’s most prized assets, with millions depending on NHS care every year.
However, it’s not without fault. The UK's growing ageing population, spiralling costs, and subsequent efforts to make efficiency savings are leaving it strained.
A recent report by the Royal College of Physicians found that the NHS was “underfunded, underdoctored and overstretched”.
It’s easy to see this reflected in the statistics, with the NHS was dealing with 1 million patients every 36 hours. The Kingsfund worryingly claim that, while a growing population is certainly a factor, “hospital activity is increasing at a faster rate than population growth”.
The NHS undeniably does a wonderful job as do many of the people in its employ. However, avoiding these strained conditions and long waiting lists is one of the primary motivations for people that choose to buy Private Medical Insurance.
Private Medical Insurance in the UK is designed to complement the NHS, not replace it's services. Although the private sector can help you skip waiting lists and give you access to treatment not available on the NHS, private hospitals still rely on the NHS for primary and emergency care, such as A&E.
If you’ve had a negative experience with the NHS, or simply want to avoid having one, then Private Medical Insurance could be a viable option for you.