British concern over NHS

The British feature heavily in Europ Assistance’s latest survey into European health habits, needs and concerns, as UK citizens show the most anxiety over growing healthcare trends and condemn state care for the elderly.

The first “Cercle Sante – Europ Assistance Barometer” presented at the Senate in Paris, is designed to provide a snapshot of Europeans’ opinions on their healthcare systems.

  • 67% of  Britons consider state care for the elderly and dependent to be poor
  • Only 56% of Britons have a positive opinion of the UK healthcare system
  • Only 13% of Britons are proactive in requesting screening for a serious condition
  • Britons are not prepared to travel far to benefit from specialist care. Only 39% of UK residents said they would travel a long way from home for specialist care compared to 68% of Italians
  • Only 36% of Britons would like to see the development of medical consultations over the internet

Europ Assistance, a leading provider of health and assistance services surveyed over 2000 Europeans from the UK, Sweden, Germany, France and Italy, to gain a clear view of citizens’ needs and preoccupations in terms of healthcare.

The survey revealed that while Europeans have an overall positive opinion of their general healthcare system, state care for the elderly and dependents was considered poor or only average by 63% of Europeans. Britons showed particular concern on this subject with 67% feeling that healthcare for the elderly is poor and that priority should be placed on increasing the number of home assistance programmes.

Britons also differed to the rest of Europe in their views on cross border healthcare, with only 39% of UK residents willing to travel for specialist care. In addition, the survey revealed that only 13% of Britons are proactive in requesting screening for a serious condition. This differs greatly from the rest of Europe. For example, 51% of Germans proactively request screening for serious conditions.

Younger Europeans had a more positive perception of using technological methods to aid healthcare.  Only 36% of Britons were in favour of the development of medical consultations over the internet. 39% of Europeans were in favour of developing technology to analyse and diagnose remotely and 64% of Europeans said they were in favour of developments in surgery, through direct liaison via a videolink with a major specialist. However, Britons showed more reserve with only 52% being in favour of video transmission during an operation.

“The survey gives us great insight into the thoughts and concerns that European citizens have in relation to their healthcare systems,” says Charles Walckenaer, Managing Director of Europ Assistance UK and Ireland. “The survey showed that Britons remain concerned about the level of funding and services in certain areas. It is also interesting that the UK tend to be more cautious in terms of emerging healthcare trends than the rest of Europe, being less receptive to developments in new technology and cross border treatments and less proactive in requesting screenings.”


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