Rising trend of cancelled elective operations plays to the case for private care, thinks National Friendly
Statistics released by NHS England for the quarter ending June 2017 continue to show a long term growth in the number of patients not treated within 28 days after having an elective operation cancelled by the NHS. An elective procedure is one that is planned in advance, usually after detailed medical consultation, rather than one that is carried out in an emergency.
Although the number of patients not treated within 28 days of a cancellation was down from 8.4% over the same period last year to 7.2% this year, since 2009 - 2010, the figure has been steadily rising from a low of just over 2.5% at that time.
Head of Sales and Marketing at National Friendly, Wayne Carter, comments: “Since the sanctions regime, which punishes NHS trusts for missing their 18 week wait time targets, have been largely rolled back, we have seen sustained increases in waiting times being reported and now we are seeing a negative trend in the area of cancelled operations too.
Fines levied on trusts for missing targets in A&E, cancer and routine operations have been scrapped altogether and whilst it makes sense for a cash-strapped NHS to avoid such additions to its already overspent budget2 , this has removed a significant management control tool, according to organisations such as the NHS Partners Network.”
With winter approaching, which traditionally adds significant strain to the NHS, organisations such as Bristol based National Friendly, a mutual insurance provider, has seen interest in its range of private health cover. The insurer’s Optimum range of policies offer both in-patient and day patient cover, with fast access to a range of private hospital treatments and operations and cover up to £250,000 each policy year.
Optimum also offers an Out-patient Plan, providing prompt access to private GPs and specialist consultants for a fast diagnosis, as well as a range of selected out-patient treatments including carpal tunnel decompression and joint injections. National Friendly’s Optimum is completely unique in the market in that it gives consumers the choice between an Out-patient Plan and In-Day-patient Plan, or they can have both together at a discounted price.
National Friendly’s Wayne Carter believes it is inevitable that as waiting lists grow, more people who can will want to pay for private healthcare to avoid growing waiting times in the event of needing treatment in the future.
Details of the new insurance plan are available on the National Friendly website at https://nationalfriendly.co.uk/optimum/pmi