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People paying for operations up by third since Covid pandemic

The number of people paying privately for operations and treatments in the UK has risen by more than a third since the pandemic started, the latest figures from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) show.

Last year 272,000 used their own money to pay for treatments, such as knee or eye surgery - up from 199,000 in 2019.

The NHS backlog has been blamed for the trend, with some of the treatments costing more than £15,000.

But there does appear to have been a shift away from private insurance driven by the cost of living crisis.

The numbers treated through that route were just below 550,000 - more than 30,000 fewer than three years ago.

Health providers are reporting patients desperate for treatment because of NHS waits are increasingly turning to the private market.

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Source: BBC News, 24 May 2023


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