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HomeBreaking NewsNearly half-a-million new people buy health insurance in 2022 as NHS crisis...

Nearly half-a-million new people buy health insurance in 2022 as NHS crisis deepens

'Quick read' news summary

Close to half-a-million people have taken out private health insurance over the past year, The Telegraph can reveal, with the NHS increasingly struggling to provide basic care for patients in the wake of Covid-19.

Bupa, Aviva and Vitality, three of the largest insurers in the UK, have collectively added 480,000 new customers since the beginning of 2022, according to data shared by the companies with The Telegraph.

Long waiting lists and “uncertainty about when procedures will take place would certainly seem to be influencing people’s decision to plan for private care”, said the Private Healthcare Information Network, which tracks the performance of the sector.

Aviva also said that “concerns regarding the pressures on the NHS post Covid-19 are definitely a significant driver” behind the rise in new customers.

The NHS has faced mounting strain over the past 12 months, with hospitals and health services pushed to the brink by record-breaking waiting lists, staff and bed shortages, and concurrent waves of respiratory infections.

Britain’s underfunded social-care sector is equally struggling to cope with a nationwide surge in demand, making it harder for hospitals to discharge patients into the community to continue their care.

This crisis has come to a head in recent weeks; the Royal College of Emergency Medicine estimates that 300 to 500 people a week are now dying as a result of delays to emergency care.

The latest figures show that almost 2,500 more people died than expected in the week to Dec 23  – the highest number of excess deaths since Feb 2021, which was the deadliest period of the pandemic.

Against this backdrop, hundreds of thousands of patients have turned their back on the NHS in favour of private healthcare.

Aviva said it covered 100,000 new

Close to half-a-million people have taken out private health insurance over the past year, The Telegraph can reveal, with the NHS increasingly struggling to provide basic care for patients in the wake of Covid-19. Aviva also said that “concerns regarding the pressures on the NHS post Covid-19 are definitely a significant driver” behind the rise in new customers. Against this backdrop, hundreds of thousands of patients have turned their back on the NHS in favour of private healthcare.

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