Concerns about the hygiene and cleanliness of NHS hospitals are prompting many people to seek private treatment, new research has found.
A poll by Saga Private Medical Insurance found that over two thirds of people were worried about levels of hygiene and 66 per cent were afraid of catching an infection while in hospital.
Meanwhile, 57 per cent of the 1,951 respondents surveyed in May said that they were concerned about waiting times; 42 per cent were bothered by doctors' working hours; and 36 per cent were anxious about the possibility of being treated on a mixed-sex ward.
Andrew Goodsell, chief executive of Saga Group Ltd, said that although the NHS is a world-leading service, many like the reassurance provided by private medical cover.
"Despite the government effort and resource in recent years focussed on reducing waiting times, the reality is that the public still feel they are too long and that's borne out by the continuing strong demand for private medical insurance and access to private treatment in safe and clean environments," he said.