The likely impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on NHS waiting times

8th June 2020

As the NHS prepares to tackle the growing threat of the Covid-19 outbreak, a spotlight is being shone on the immense pressures soon to fall upon our already strained health service.

With some hospitals in England already postponing non-essential surgery as they prepare to cope with the influx of coronavirus cases, the service is facing its biggest challenge in a generation.

Understandably, the focus will be to treat patients in order of clinical priority meaning that those requiring non-urgent but essential treatment could be waiting even longer than usual. Earlier in the year, the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) predicted that by 2024 almost six million people could be on waiting lists for operations such as hip replacements and cataract surgery and that the number of people waiting for longer than 18 weeks for treatment is likely to rise to over one million. In view of the health crisis that our country currently faces, we can only assume that such predictions are likely to worsen. It is a worrying time for all.

Why should I take out Private Health Insurance?

With the added pressures on the health service, many people would like to take out private medical insurance, but still rule out the possibility of affording it. However, Private Health Insurance is no longer just a luxury product for the wealthy. With various levels of cover available it can be more affordable that you might think. Health packages can be tailored to individual needs to ensure that premiums are kept at a minimum.

Many insurers also offer their members access to digital primary care services as standard. Given the fact that, in many circumstances, it is necessary to ring first thing in the morning to secure a face to face GP appointment via the NHS, this service is proving invaluable for many, particularly those who commute long distances to work. Another major advantage of these services is that often members can access private prescriptions, which can be delivered to any address including workplaces.

When should I think about taking cover out?

Often we think about the importance of having health insurance a little too late, perhaps after being diagnosed with a medical condition or being told that we need to have a surgical procedure and will be placed on an NHS waiting list. The ideal time to explore your health insurance options is whilst you are still in reasonable health. This does not mean that if you have an existing condition, you cannot apply or that your premiums will go through the roof but you may find that your pre-existing condition is excluded from cover, with the policy covering new conditions only or conditions for which you have been free of treatment, advice and medication for two continuous years from the policy commencement date.

Where can I go to access advice?

Comparison websites are all good and well when it comes to car or pet insurance but can be an absolute minefield when it comes to comparing the various health insurance policies on offer. It’s certainly not a ‘one size fits all’ product. You would benefit from speaking to an impartial adviser who will take the time to fully understand your budget and needs, conduct market research and recommend the most suitable policy for your individual circumstances.

As an Independent Health Insurance Broker, my job is not only to educate people about the benefits of having Private Health Insurance but to guide them through the various options that might be available, stripping back much of the confusing jargon and providing clear and compliant advice.

I offer flexible appointments times to accommodate people’s busy work and family lives and my services are provided free of charge and without obligation.

For an informal chat or to find out more about the Health Insurance products available to you, please get in touch on 01276 581896 or via and I shall be delighted to assist you.

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