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Tax rises needed to avoid NHS ‘misery’, report finds

Tax rises needed to avoid NHS ‘misery’, report finds

Every household in Britain would need to pay £2,000 per year for the next 15 years to fund the NHS properly, according to a new report. Experts say tax rises are essential to avoid a ‘decade of misery’ for health services, in which sick and vulnerable people will be let down, following findings by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Health Foundation.

An extra four percent annually - the equivalent of £2,000 per home - is needed to provide services for an ageing population and the rising number of people living with long-term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Taking into account inflation, the annual rise has been limited to just over two percent in recent years.

The review, called ‘Securing the future: funding health and social care to the 2030s’, was commissioned by the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS trusts. Its findings act as a reminder of the need for alternatives to NHS health services.

ActiveQuote MD Rob Saunders said: “This is a shocking figure which will no doubt bring a great deal of concern to householders nationwide. There are options available, however, for anyone who may feel troubled by this latest report into public health services currently available. Our concern is that many individuals may not consider private health insurance because they assume it is too costly, even though cover is available on a wide variety of scales nowadays.

“Protecting our most valuable assets - including our cars, homes and the possessions within - is a routine part of life for many. In light of this study, health insurance could also be an option, therefore, for those keen to include their own wellbeing and that of their loved ones within the same bracket.”

NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson called the report a ‘wake-up call’, adding: “If we want good, effective and safe services, we have to find the resources to pay for them. It is now undeniable that the current system and levels funding are not sustainable. Without new ways of delivering services and sustained investment, NHS and care services will not cope and we will face a decade of misery in which the old, the sick and the vulnerable will be let down."

Once thought of as the preserve of the wealthy, health insurance is now an affordable and practical option for many. With ActiveQuote, you can take out family cover* for as little as £40 per month, while for those aged 65 and over,** policies are available from £30 per month.

Rob added: “Taking out private medical insurance doesn’t mean you have to opt out of NHS cover, but it does provide alternative options. In an ideal world, we would all be seen quickly for a diagnosis and subsequent treatment – but it seems we are increasingly waking up to the truth that the traditional NHS model is no longer a viable option to cover all of the nation’s healthcare needs. Protecting yourself should you need additional cover is a good plan B, therefore.”

Health insurance allows you to bypass lengthy waiting lists and benefit from speedier diagnosis and treatment, in the hospital of your choice - including NHS hospitals close to your home. There are lots of other bonuses, such as being able to recover in a private room instead of on a ward. Different types of policy are available to suit your circumstances, such as family health insurance and international health insurance, if you live or work abroad.

The prime minister has promised a long-term funding plan for the NHS, with detailed plans expected to be announced in the near future, possibly in time for the 70th anniversary of the creation of the NHS in July.

* Based on an ActiveQuote quote on April 25 2018 for a family of four living in south Wales.

** Based on an ActiveQuote quote on May 17 2018 for a couple aged 65 and over living in Manchester.