"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Monday, 7 March 2011

Private Healthcare

According to the Office Of Fair Trading:

PMI [private medical insurance], which is often provided by employers, is the main funding source for the provision of PH [private healthcare] by private hospitals and clinics (61 per cent), followed by NHS-funded patients (23 per cent) and then self-pay patients (15 per cent).

So most of private healthcare insurance is paid by employers. This is backed up by anecdotal evidence - those friends and neighbours who have had care in a private hospital always say "the company pays for private insurance, so I thought I would use it". I don't know anyone who actually admits to paying private health insurance themselves, but maybe that is because they don't want to admit it to me.

In the post today I got a letter from Aviva. Well, I didn't really get a letter since it was not addressed to me, it was simply a sales sheet in an envelope and every house in the street was delivered one. This "letter" reminds me that private medical treatment is available at a BMI hospital 30 miles away. Well whoopido, there's a private hospital that does private medical treatment, who would have thought that would be the case? The letter was the usual drivel: how the treatment is world class, rapid and affordable. Indeed, it even suggests that "the healthier you are, the wealthier you could be" which is rather bizarre since you are paying them, so you are slowly getting less wealthy with each premium payment. It indicates that they do not know how insurance works: if I am healthy I will not claim, but I will still contribute premiums, so surely it should be "the healthier I am, the wealthier Aviva will be".

Anyway, the reason I mention this is that I have not had a letter like this before. Why are private health insurers going on a sales drive? Surely if Any Willing Provider is the success that Lansley hopes it to be then private hospitals will not have the capacity with all of the NHS work they are doing, to be able to fit in any private patients with private health insurance? Or maybe the private health insurers know something that Lansley is not telling us? Like, for example, that the changes he will make to the NHS will deteriorate their care. Aviva say that the BMI hospital provides "rapid treatment, excellent care and comfortable surroundings" perhaps Aviva are actually saying that under Lansley the NHS will provide "long waiting lists, poor care and dilapidated hospitals", like, um, the situation after 18 years of Conservative government?


  1. It's nothing new.

    A few years ago when I lived in the catchment area of an NHS trust that had been rated as 1* I got a letter from AXA, as far as I can remember, it went like this;

    "Dear resident, you live in the area of a 1* NHS Trust, what would you do if you needed quality care?"

    I wouldn't have minded quite so much but I worked for said trust...! Cheeky sods.

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