Published on 03/01/2012
Experts predict that there will be a big increase in the number of private medical insurance and self-pay patients at NHS hospitals.
The amendments to the Health Bill, currently going through parliament, will allow all foundation trust hospitals to earn up to 49 per cent of their income from private healthcare work. Currently they are only allowed to earn a few per cent.
Whilst NHS hospitals will still have legal requirements to treat NHS patients first, hospitals will raise money from performing more private operations and re-invest the profits into the NHS.
With the NHS needing to save £20bn by 2015, this extra investment may ease pressure on jobs and front-line services.
The proposals being put to the House of Lords will also make it easier for people to choose treatment on a ‘self-pay’ basis at NHS hospitals.
However, these changes will put tension on UK private healthcare providers, which are already under pressure from insurers to reduce their prices.
Bupa has recently de-listed a large number of BMI Healthcare hospitals because of ‘unreasonable prices’.
With increased competition in the private sector, private medical insurance customers could benefit from lower premiums and wider choice- compare health insurance quotes online now.
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