March 4

The NHS is on its knees



The NHS is on its knees

Faced with growing waiting times and a financial crisis in the health service, what’ll happen when you need healthcare?

Make no mistake: the NHS is a national treasure.  Since 1948, free at the point of use healthcare has been one of the cornerstones of our society.

And it’s a great thing. When we compare it to other countries with different models, it’s fair to say that we’ve got something of which to be genuinely proud.

But here’s the truth of it: it isn’t perfect.  Not by a long chalk.

Hospitals are too full – 10% above what is considered a safe level of occupancy…

Nearly five million people are waiting for operations…

A&E waiting times are disastrous, with less than 80% of patients seen within four hours…

Operations are regularly cancelled on the day of surgery, with the majority of those cancellations as a result of non-clinical issues…

We could go on, but you get the point: the NHS is in a bit of a mess, and the truth of the matter is that no amount of money will sort it out.  In fact, things are likely to get worse, not better.

Over 100 NHS medical practices are closing every year, but each year our population swells, with the UK population predicted to be 70 million by 2030.

And with people living longer than ever, the need for healthcare will only increase.

Simply put: there’s no amount of tax that can solve a problem like the NHS.

It’s a national treasure, but it’s already under severe strain, with more to come.

So, here’s a question for you:

Will the NHS be there for YOU when you need it the most?

The truth is that on a day-to-day basis, most of us don’t overthink about the NHS.

It’s something we read about in the newspapers and on the Internet, but because we don’t usually spend our lives in a state of ill health, we don’t tend to give the health service too much of our headspace.

We’ll read about the increasing waiting times, or the people in pain waiting months to get a new knee and feel a sense of sympathy for them, but because we’re not struggling with the same ailment, we don’t connect with those stories.

But what about when it happens to us?

How will you feel if you end up stuck on a waiting list for months, spending your days in chronic pain?

Or when you need to have surgery, and you have no control over the time or place where it happens, or who does it?

Or, when you finally get your surgery, how will you feel to be stuck in a ward with lots of other people, during your recuperation period?

Because that’s the reality of healthcare on the NHS.

We’re not badmouthing it, because – as we said – it’s a wonderful institution, but we’re deliberately misleading ourselves if we pretend that it’s perfect.

And considering these facts, UK citizens have options when it comes to healthcare:

  1. Participate in burdening the NHS and experience the negatives that come with an overwhelmed health service.

Some feel like they’ve paid their taxes, and they deserve to have free healthcare as a result.

And there’s some mileage in it – after all, you’ve contributed to the NHS, so you’re within your rights to use it.

But choosing to use NHS treatment exclusively does come with its fair share of drawbacks too.

One is that you’re subject to the same waiting lists as everyone else, which means long waits for operations.

And while the conditions that’ll get you on the waiting list aren’t life-threatening, most of them are life inhibiting.  NHS patients can easily spend 3+ months waiting for a new hip or knee, or a hernia operation, or cataract surgery, which is no picnic.

When you do finally get to the top of the list, you’ve got no control over the date or location of your operation, nor the rehabilitation work that might need to happen afterwards.

Sure, you haven’t paid a penny more for it, but you’ve suffered as a result.

  1. Use the NHS for the stuff it’s good at, but reduce your burden on it and receive higher quality care by using private medical insurance.

The work being done by the NHS to save peoples’ lives on a daily basis is nothing short of remarkable.

They have a fantastic track record on dealing with accidents and emergencies, while their cancer care is up there with the very best health services on the planet – it’d be foolish to go anywhere else for those services.

But do you need to use them for other medical services?

Only you can answer that question, but the truth is that far more people can afford NOT to use the NHS than are currently doing so.

You see, many people think that they’re faced with a binary choice: use the NHS for everything, or pay through the nose for private healthcare.

The reality is that it’s far more nuanced than that, and there’s a third option, which gives you the best of both worlds: private medical insurance.

Medical insurance means you’re insured should you need medical attention, while still allowing you to use the NHS for A&E and cancer treatment, and rather than paying out thousands of pounds for an operation, or waiting months for it, it can be covered for you by a simple, affordable monthly premium.

Is it time to consider private insurance, before everyone rushes in?

Whatever the current Government says, whatever headlines we read about money being poured into the NHS, we all know in our heart of hearts that it won’t be enough.

The scale of the problem is just too big, too vast.

And it’s only going to get worse, with a rising population and a country struggling under a tidal wave of debt.

Which means that sooner or later, those of us who can afford private medical insurance will have little choice but to move in that direction.

And as the market moves in that direction, and demand increases, the chances are that premiums will increase too.

But if you can get in earlier, at the very least, you’ll get a few years of lower-priced premiums, and the chances are that an existing relationship with your insurer will see you retain lower-priced premiums that premiums available to new customers in a few years.

And if you can afford it, why wait?

The reality is that the monthly cost of private medical insurance is far less than you’d think.

Most people read “private” and assume that it’s going to cost them thousands of pounds a year, but in truth, it’s a lot more affordable than you’d imagine.

Premiums generally start from as little as £30 a month, and when you think about the fact that it gives you access to everything you need to stay healthy, it doesn’t seem to be an unusually large sum.

Plus, if you were looking to insure the whole family, you can generally get favourable premiums and save money because you’re insuring more of you.

Private medical insurance – how much would it cost you?

The chances are that you’re interested in finding out more about private medical insurance, and why wouldn’t you be?

  • You wouldn’t have to wait for an appointment
  • You had the freedom to choose your cars for you, and when and where they do it
  • You were reducing the strain on the NHS and allowing it to do its most important work
  • You had the peace of mind that came from both you and your family is fully protected

Plus, if you can comfortably afford the monthly payment, it would make very little difference to your financial situation.

Is it worth finding out more?

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