Self-Pay private treatment for elective surgery could contribute to clearing the record backlog of NHS patients awaiting treatment, says one healthcare business which is launching a new service, available first to Midlands residents, to help uninsured patients access private healthcare more easily.
The latest NHS data, published on 10 November 2022, reveals that the waiting list for routine hospital treatment rose to an all-time high of 7.1 million people in September. This figure included over 400,000 people who have been waiting for over a year to start their treatment.
With winter pressures, Covid and a nurses’ strike looming large, a new approach is required to get patients the treatment they need, particularly if the 18-month target is to be reached by April 2023, says Keith Duddy, co-founder and CEO at Birmingham based healthcare company Medmin.
“Private healthcare is sometimes seen as elitist, as only 11% of the population have private healthcare insurance. But with the right models and structures in place, it can be an option for lots more people – particularly to meet one-off day case and elective surgery demand, which is growing month on month” says Keith.
Medmin, best known for managing the practices of consultant clinicians, is launching Get Well Soon, a Self-Pay offer for uninsured patients to access private healthcare treatment for 50 common conditions and low risk procedures. Patients can be seen within days and operated on within a month by highly experienced consultant surgeons. The service will be available first to people living in the Midlands with plans to roll out the service nationwide.
Keith continues: “Get Well Soon offers a concierge service helping people access affordable elective surgery, delivered in a network of private hospitals run by our experienced clinical partners. The service has been designed for people who can’t afford to wait for their treatment – such as self-employed workers with an injury which is stopping them from working, or young people who are fed up of being held back by a condition that’s preventing them living their best life. Research suggests young people (18-34) are now more likely to consider private healthcare options than any other age group so the appetite for this model is definitely out there.”
Medmin co-founder Simon Radley, a surgeon himself, acknowledges the challenge ahead:
“If we can get patients off waiting lists by improving access to private healthcare for the most common conditions and procedures, it allows those for whom paying isn’t an option to move up the list sooner, helping to ease the backlog.
“After 60 years of very little change in the way NHS and private healthcare is structured in the UK, it’s time for something new which offers more choice for patients, giving them more opportunities to take control over their health and wellbeing while at the same time playing a part in supporting and relieving the mounting pressure on the NHS.”