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Why Patients Are Still Worried That NHS Waiting Times Are Too Long


Health Secretary Alan Johnson recently announced waiting lists for NHS surgery are at an all time low, with patients waiting a maximum of 18 weeks for treatment. Health-on-Line, the online private medical insurance (PMI) company, reveals that individuals continue to worry NHS waiting lists are too long, despite these reports.

Mike Dalby, director of Health-on-Line comments, “The NHS should be applauded that the waiting lists are being reduced, but when waiting to receive treatment 18 weeks can seem like an awfully long time. It can be really disconcerting for individuals who are on a waiting list and in some cases, this can have a real impact on their quality of life, often resulting in them feeling as though they are ‘in limbo’ waiting for the necessary treatment. So have reduced waiting lists reduced the publics appetite for health insurance?”

In October 2008, Health-on-Line undertook research into the most popular reasons behind an increase in health insurance enquiries to the company. The research was carried out as part of a series of questions consumers answer when making enquiries about private medical insurance arranged by Health-on-Line.

Dalby comments, “Towards the end of 2008 and throughout the beginning of 2009 we have seen a continuous rise in the number of enquiries we receive from individuals looking to get PMI in place, and we continue to investigate the reasons behind this. We had previously identified that consumers felt waiting lists were too long and this was driving them to look into alternatives. In light of the recent reports, we reassessed the same information for the first quarter of 2009 and found that concerns relating to waiting lists remained a key motivator for people enquiring about health insurance, despite media reports designed to allay these fears.”

Dalby concludes, “So not much has changed in the five months since we initially assessed the reasons people were buying PMI. We will continue to find out what motivates people to look at health insurance and the impact media coverage has on the responses we receive.”


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