The threat of MRSA and other hospital superbugs is leading many patients in the UK to seek private treatment.
Recent government research revealed that nearly 150 babies and children suffered potentially fatal blood infections after contracting MRSA in NHS hospitals last year, raising concerns over poor hospital hygiene.
Unsurprisingly, 62 per cent of people taking out private medical insurance (PMI) said that their main motivating factor had been access to clean hospitals, according to Bupa.
Dr Mark Enright, a microbiology reader at Imperial College London, told the Daily Telegraph: "If you are getting nearly 150 bloodstream infections in children, that is an awful lot and it means things are getting out of control."
In addition to hygiene concerns, consumers taking out PMI also wanted faster access to specialists, with 77 per cent clearly considering that the ability to avoid NHS waiting times was well worth the cost of an insurance premium.
Bupa Health Insurance medical director Dr Natalie-Jane Macdonald commented: "It's interesting that MRSA and cleanliness are still top of people's worries when it comes to taking out PMI.
"It's also encouraging to see that the things that matter to us, like faster access to specialists, good quality of services and effective medical treatments, are echoed by those people questioned."
© Adfero Ltd
Private Hospital News : 15/09/2006