Private Healthcare: Essential Cover & Peace Of Mind

Following a prolonged period of reduced activity levels due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the private insured and self-pay healthcare market has largely recovered, new research reveals.

Terry Fromant
Head of Group Risk
Private Healthcare: Essential Cover & Peace Of Mind
Terry Fromant
Head of Group Risk
Personal Health
December 18, 2020
Read time: 

Data shows the private healthcare sector is back to pre-Covid levels before the 2nd lockdown.

Following a prolonged period of reduced activity levels due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the private insured and self-pay healthcare market has largely recovered, new research reveals.

According to data from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), in October, private elective care returned to pre-Covid volumes. While private healthcare sector activity throughout October was estimated to be around 7% lower than the same month in 2019, the c. 64,000 elective admissions during this month was higher than in February — before the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic were really being felt, PHIN has confirmed.

PHIN added that this activity is trending in a similar pattern to the months prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.

The PHIN report builds on data released by the not-for-profit organisation in October 2020 which showed that there were more than 40,000 private healthcare admissions in August in the UK, which was more than two-thirds of the admissions in 2019. The findings build on PHIN figures for June and July which revealed a steady recovery during these two months, with private activity recorded at almost 50% of 2019 levels.

Some private specialities witnessing higher volumes than prior to the pandemic

PHIN says the private healthcare sector has witnessed significant disruption in its marketplace. For example, medical oncology grew to an estimated 47% of all elective private admissions during the height of the first lockdown in April. 

Meanwhile, other specialties were, for the first time, seeing higher volumes than before the pandemic. For instance, gynaecology saw 3,600 admissions compared to 2,900 in January, while ophthalmology admissions were at a year high of more than 7,000. Both markets shares were up 2% from the beginning of the year.

However, some specialties have not experienced a similar rate of recovery. Both plastic surgery and ENT remain down on the beginning of the year both in market share and admissions.

Speaking about the data, Dr Jon Fistein, PHIN’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “We’re continuing to see a strong recovery in the private healthcare market. However, while admissions were largely back to pre-Covid numbers, and the market share is broadly similar, it’s still too early to say whether things are back to ‘normal’, or what ‘normal’ will even look like following this year of significant market disruption. 

“The second lockdown will inevitably also have an impact, but overall the signs are promising for the sector.”

Alleviating the NHS burden

If there is one thing we have seen throughout this pandemic, it is the vital role private healthcare has played in enabling patients to continue receiving the care they need, as well as alleviating some of the burden of Covid from the NHS.

With still no end to the pandemic in sight, private healthcare and private medical insurance (PMI) will continue to be extremely important as 2021 unfolds. If you or those close to you have been considering getting PMI, there really is no time like the present. We’d love to help you find the most suitable solution for you.

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