The NHS is indisputably an essential resource for tens of millions in the UK, and a national treasure for the tireless work poured into the care and treatment of conditions free at the point of use. But the NHS has been suffering systemic failures for decades, as administrative difficulties combine with staff shortages, underfunding, and unprecedented national medical emergencies to create a perfect storm.
Today, the result is 40-hour waits for ambulances, and waiting lists for elective surgery stretching out from weeks to years. For many, private healthcare is a necessary alternative to ensure they receive the care they need, at the time they need it. But funding private healthcare can sometimes prove difficult.
Even at the best of times, private healthcare has been something of a prohibitive expense for the average citizen. Privatized healthcare systems such as in the US are only accessible by virtue of insurance packages and employer sponsorships. But in recent months, these costs have risen yet further.
One of the major drivers for increasing healthcare costs relates to the current economic difficulties faced by the UK. Supply chains have been disrupted as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU, increasing the cost of imports for vital healthcare equipment. Energy costs have also increased significantly, as sanctions against Russia caused a spike in the wholesale gas futures market.
But the increase in cost can also be partially attributed to the NHS. Private insurance premiums have increased at a greater rate than the European average, as poor NHS performance inspires more to go private – increasing demand, and pressure, on private services.
With all this in mind, how should an individual go about procuring the healthcare they need from a private healthcare service? In many cases, employers seek to guarantee the health of their staff through generous benefits programs, including paid-for private health insurance. If this isn’t a possibility with your business, or if you are out of work entirely, you will need to find ways to fund your insurance or care for yourself.
For retirees, there is a novel option in the form of an equity release mortgage. Homeowners over the age of 55 (or 65, depending on the exact nature of the scheme) are able to take out a loan against part of the value of their home, returning them the equity they hold in their property without selling said property. The debt is repaid on the sale of the house in later life or after passing away. This can be a crucial way to afford private retirement care.
The Outlook for the Healthcare Sector
The wider healthcare landscape is a somewhat positive one, despite the various pressures facing both practitioners and patients at the present moment. Advancements in the availability of medical technology, coupled with administrative overhauls, promise better patient access to care than ever before – and a more equitable approach to healthcare.