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GPs don’t ask about Private Medical Insurance

24 November 2011

Doctors are failing to ask patients if they have private medical insurance, a new survey has revealed.

Four out of 10 General Practitioners will not ask about a patient’s private healthcare, Spire Healthcare have suggested.

The research, which polled over 1,000 GPs, revealed that only 30% of doctors think that ‘appropriate’ patients should be encouraged to seek private medical insurance. Many will not even ask about the insurance and only 13% of them will discuss the option to be treated privately.

Despite this, 28% of doctors have seen a rise in the number of patients asking about private healthcare in the last six months.

Dr Jean-Jacques de Gorter, Clinical Services Director at Spire Healthcare, said; "The NHS is under increasing pressure to do more with less and this is leading to not only restrictions in access to treatments, but also to longer waits. It is only fair for patients to be made aware of all the options available to them."

A third of doctors also polled that they expect to make more private referrals this year alone.

NHS treatment

Further research found that, between February and March, 61% of GPs said they would be more likely to refer privately if better access to health insurance was available.

The NHS is under huge pressure, especially during the winter months. Last year it was reported that there was approximately 25,700 excess deaths in the UK during winter. The majority of these were linked to colds, flu, breathing problems and chest infections.

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said; “There is always more pressure on the NHS at this time of year and this year will be no different. It deals with rises in slips, trips and falls, increases in admissions due to flu and other health problems associated with the colder weather and the winter vomiting bug noro-virus.”

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