Why NHS backlogs in a Covid-19 world mean it’s time to reassess your health provision

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The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted all areas of life, from our finances to our freedoms. Of course, it’s primarily a health crisis and its impact on the NHS has been significant.

Despite the falling numbers of patients hospitalised with Covid-19, the pandemic is likely to be with us for a large part of 2021. Its impact will be felt for many years to come, not least on a health service that has been stretched to breaking point.

One of the consequences of focusing on the devastating health impact of coronavirus is that there are now significant backlogs in non-critical care. The British Medical Association estimates that, between April and December 2020, there were:

  • 7 million fewer elective procedures
  • 66 million fewer outpatient attendances.

Critical cancer care has also been severely affected. In April 2019, 200,000 patients were referred to a cancer specialist by their GP. By April 2020, this had fallen to 77,573.

Considering that the Guardian reported that a four-week delay in receiving cancer treatment can increase the likelihood of death by up to 10%, this is a worrying time for people with other illnesses.

So, in a world where Covid-19 is likely to continue to dominate hospital care, and where millions of surgeries have been delayed or cancelled, is it time to consider making your own arrangements?

Quick access to consultants, fast and advanced treatment

As NHS backlogs increase, we are seeing more and more clients reassess their medical provision. This is not only for themselves, but many firms are also seeing the benefits of putting private medical insurance (PMI) in place for their employees.

Private healthcare providers have a crucial part to play in alleviating the pressure on the NHS and protecting you from as much disruption as possible. The key benefits of PMI include:

  • Private GP advice and referrals
  • Quick access to diagnostics and consultants
  • Treatment at a time convenient to you
  • Faster treatment – in weeks rather than months
  • Access to treatment not widely available on the NHS
  • Advanced treatment programs – for example, cancer drugs that are too expensive for the NHS.

Private medical treatment is designed to provide support for “acute” conditions which start after your cover begins. So, your insurance will help you if you’re diagnosed with a disease, illness or injury after your policy is in place, with the aim of returning you to the state of health you were in immediately before suffering the disease, illness or injury.

Note that an insurer will not typically cover “chronic” conditions that need long-term monitoring, control, or relief of symptoms, and has no known cure or is likely to come back.

Why it’s important to put the right cover in place now

If you try and buy home insurance when your house is on fire, it’s too late. It’s the same with private medical insurance. If you wait until you are ill, you will typically not be covered for that condition (see above).

If you protect yourself now, you’ll have access to diagnostics and treatment for any conditions you suffer in the future.

There are many different types of protection in the market. If you’re thinking about protecting yourself and your family, talk to us and we can help you find the right cover for your needs.

Company PMI can provide a fantastic benefit to your team

According to the Guardian, company-paid cover accounts for about 75% of the roughly four million people who have private medical insurance in the UK. Offering this perk to your team has multiple benefits.

  • It helps you demonstrate you care about the wellbeing of your people.
  • It can help recruit good quality staff and retain your existing employees.
  • It can help absence management, as staff are being diagnosed and treated quickly.

In our experience, many employers focus on the cost of PMI rather than the positive impact that access to expensive treatment has on employees, their families, and their engagement with the business.

We can help you find the right cover for your business.

Get in touch

If you’re reassessing your health provision, or you’d like to find out more about the benefits of private medical insurance for you, your family, or your business, please get in touch. Email enquiries@blackswanfp.co.uk or contact your adviser on 020 3828 8100.


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