The Knee Care Press


Large rise in patients self-paying for procedures since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic

New figures reveal a triple-digit percentage point rise in patients paying out of their own pockets, when comparing July to September 2019 figures against the same period in 2021.

Self-funded hip replacements increased 167%, knee replacements 127% and cataract operations 63%. Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) figures for the second quarter of 2021 say 67,100 people self-funded private treatment, a 35% rise on pre-pandemic figures. However, there was a drop in those paying for private healthcare through their own insurance policy, down from 141,900 to 119,100.

In contrast, those paying for operations through pre-existing insurance policies saw only small rises during these periods, with hip operations increasing by 4%, and cataract surgery and knee replacements both up by 6%. News of the growth in patients self-funding treatment comes as a new YouGov poll shows that 19% of adults in the UK say the Covid-19 pandemic has made them more likely to consider using private healthcare.

Figures also show consultants slowly moving back to work in the private market, however, fewer consultants are actively treating private patients than before the pandemic. According to PHIN, in April 2020 there were only 1,800 consultants actively providing private healthcare during the pandemic. PHIN chief executive Matt James said: “Our data shows a significant rise in people paying out of their own pocket for common procedures since the pandemic. However, levels of private care overall are flat, as activity levels for people who have private insurance remain lower after the pandemic.” 

In a message to patients, he added: “It’s important to know what questions to ask, and to choose hospitals and consultants that are transparent about their costs and clinical performance. I would urge people to check that their care providers appear on our independent website.”

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