Superbugs cause surge in demand for private medical insurance

14 August 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Fears about superbugs and doubts over the cleanliness of the UK's hospitals are driving a surge in demand for private medical insurance, Bupa has revealed.

New research has found that the nation's fears about bugs such as MRSA and C.difficile, as well as general levels of cleanliness, are causing more people to invest in health insurance to minimise their risks.

How clean Britain's hospitals are is still the primary concern, according to Bupa's 2008 Health of the Nation survey, with almost three quarters of Brits citing the promise of clean hospitals as their main motivation for choosing to go private, eight per cent higher than in the 2007 survey.

Faster access to specialist care accounts for 62 per cent of people opting for private medical insurance, and 61 per cent of PMI customers say that not having a waiting list as long as their arm is the main attraction.

Other reasons for choosing private healthcare over the NHS include being able to see the same consultant throughout their treatment, having access to higher quality treatment, and being able to choose a more comfortable hospital in a location that's convenient for them.

Earlier this year, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) found that seven million people now have private health insurance in some form or another, and Bupa's research coincides with independent market research from Laing & Buisson which shows that demand for PMI has grown for the second consecutive year.

"It's good to see that more people are seeing the benefits that PMI offers," said Stephen Flanagan, commercial director of Bupa UK Health Insurance, "with access to drugs and treatments not widely available on the NHS becoming increasingly important."

Meanwhile, Bupa's research also highlights that more than a third of Brits said that they would pay for private care if they need an operation at some point in the future, and almost 80 per cent of those who already have PMI would recommend it to their family and friends.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd