Britons are very proud of the National Health Service and those over 50 are more inclined to use the service they provide. Eighty-seven per cent have used it in the last two years (increasing to 94 per cent for those 75 and older). The good news is that 43% of the over 50s rated their experience with the NHS very good.
However, research conducted by Saga Health shows that a fifth of people aged over 50 think the NHS has got worse or much worse over the last two years. Looking ahead and with a potential squeeze on NHS spending and staff costs in mind, a staggering 35 per cent of over 50s believe the NHS will worsen over the next five years.
Reasons sited for taking out private medical insurance are:
1. Avoid NHS waiting list
2. Choice of when and where to be treated
3. Cleanliness of Hospital
4. Recuperate in comfort
5. Better quality of care
6. Choice of Consultant
Andrew Goodsell of Saga says, "Older people are very reliant on the NHS. The worry for many people is that pressures to cut public spending could adversely affect the quality of health care. Health is a key concern of over 50s who are more active than any previous generation. If they suffer a medical problem, they want to get treated and recuperate as quickly as possible to get on with their busy lives."
Saga Health has seen a marked increase in purchases of healthcare policies from people who are concerned about their future health care and in response have made a number of refinements to their range of plans to provide even greater levels of cover.