National Friendly, the mutual private health insurance specialists, is pushing its Out Patient Optimum product as a potential solution to UK GP waiting times. The private medical insurance plan offers a range of benefits which importantly includes the ability for customers to gain immediate access to a network of private GPs across the UK, making it particularly suited to patients who are time-poor or who are not prepared to wait on average 13 days for a GP appointment in England.
A recent survey of 830 GPs by Pulse , the monthly GP news magazine and website, has shown that the average wait for a GP appointment is now around 13 days in England, despite changes introduced by the NHS to alleviate pressures on general practice. The average waiting time, although stable, is up from 10 days in 2015, according to the data.
The survey also reveals that more than 40% of patients must now wait longer than 14 days for a routine appointment.
Head of Sales and Marketing at National Friendly, Wayne Carter, comments: “GP waiting times are a highly visible issue for the NHS, as a visit to the GP is key to unlocking access to both NHS and private care, even for relatively minor ailments. Delays of up to two weeks inconvenience many, so we have designed a straightforward insurance plan that allows easy access to a private GP when needed.”
There are currently around 371 private GP's nationally in the UK.
Details of the new insurance plan are available on the National Friendly website.
National Friendly was formed in 1868 to provide sickness benefits for working members and today has over 35,000 members.