One in eight adults in the UK have paid for private medical care in the last year because of long delays in getting NHS treatment, renewing fears that the NHS is becoming “a two-tier system”.
“Around one in eight (13%) adults reported they had paid for private medical care, with 5% using private insurance and 7% paying for the treatment themselves,” according to a new report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Patients also say that waiting for tests or treatment is badly affecting them, including making their illness worse.
The ONS survey of 2,510 adults across the UK found that one in five were waiting for an appointment, test or treatment at an NHS hospital. Of those in that situation:
Three-quarters said their delay had had either a strongly (34%) or slightly (42%) negative impact on their life
36% said waiting had made their condition worse
59% said it had damaged their wellbeing
A third said long waits had affected either their mobility (33%) or ability to exercise (34%)
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Source: The Guardian, 16 December 2022