Paying to be Seen Quicker - is this the Future of the UK Healthcare System?

By Simplyhealth, PRNE
Thursday, September 15, 2011

ANDOVER, England, September 16, 2011 -

According to Simplyhealth’s latest research, 59% of people say they would consider paying to be seen privately if it meant they were diagnosed quicker.

Simplyhealth’s report: Are we an instant health generation? carried out by YouGov suggests that concerns about cost, waiting times and access to healthcare are driving people to seek private alternatives to the NHS. Just over half believe that they will need to wait longer for treatment than ever before and 45% agree that government changes may mean that they are denied treatment altogether by the NHS.

Raman Sankaran, spokesperson for healthcare provider Simplyhealth comments: “Understandably, with the suggested changes to the NHS, people are worried about what this means to them, prompting people to consider turning to the private sector for faster access. In fact, over 50% are worried about the cost of looking after their individual and family health over the next five years.

“However, it can be a misconception that private access is only available to the more affluent. Many providers have affordable health cash plans that help to supplement the NHS with access to a number of everyday healthcare needs. For example, Simplyhealth offers a cash plan which enables individuals to claim for private consultations, visits to the dentist and the opticians as well as to the physiotherapist and chiropractor.  

“The results already show that 9% of respondents pay for private medical insurance themselves and 19% currently have employers that cover the costs for them. A further 12% have dental insurance and another 6% have a health cash plan. This suggests that people are already beginning to recognise the benefits of these types of plan but that there needs to be greater awareness around how, for a small amount a month, individuals can gain faster access to diagnosis and treatment.”

Dr Pixie McKenna, better known as resident Doctor on Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies, is working with Simplyhealth on the survey and comments: “Simplyhealth’s report confirms my suspicion that members of the public have a genuine concern about how the NHS will care for them in the future. It is staggering that 45% believe they may be denied treatment at some point in the future, while over half feel they may need to wait longer for treatment.

“Although the survey shows that there is concern around accessibility to NHS treatment, your local GP should still be your first port of call if you have a health concern. If your doctor decides that you need specialist input and then you are referred elsewhere, it is at this point you can elect to see a consultant on the NHS or privately.”

Simplyhealth has been helping people access affordable healthcare for almost 140 years, through a variety of cash plans, dental plans, private medical insurance, and mobility and living aids. For more information or to read the report log onto or call 0800 072 6715.

To join in discussions about accessing health information and advice and to pose your health questions to Dr Pixie, please visit our facebook page or follow us on Twitter via Or follow the hashtag #instanthealth.  

Notes to Editor

  • The Simplyhealth report: Are we an instant health generation? as well as interviews with a Simplyhealth spokesperson and case studies are available upon request
  • The research for the Simplyhealth report: Are we an instant health generation?  was carried out online by YouGov between 26 July 2011 - 28 July 2011. It surveyed 5,097 UK adults aged over 18 and the results are weighted to the profile of the UK’s working population. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines

About Simplyhealth:

  • We became Simplyhealth in 2009 after bringing together HSA, BCWA, LHF, HealthSure and Totally Active, our family of health companies have joined together over the last nine years to form Simplyhealth
  • We’ve been providing healthcare solutions for nearly 140 years, dedicated to serving our customers through a variety of cash plans, dental plans, private medical insurance, healthcare trusts and mobility and living aids
  • Simplyhealth is a trading name of Simplyhealth Access, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
  • As of December 2010, Simplyhealth had 1.2 million customers providing cover for some 2 million lives
  • Simplyhealth is committed to making a positive impact on its communities. Last year, we donated £1.6 million to health related charities and causes

For further information:

Lynsey Thorp, Public Relations Executive +44(0)844 579 2266
Caroline Lakeman, Public Relations Manager +44(0)844 579 2274/07795 294447


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