Patricia Vine speaks to leading private hospital group Spire Healthcare on the changing market and the increasing number of people who choose to fund their own private healthcare.
Spire Healthcare recently won private hospital group of the year at the HealthInvestor Awards for the second year running.
Each of Spire Healthcare’s 39 hospitals provides high quality accommodation equipment as well as dedicated medical, nursing and specialist staff to support the expertise of more than 3,750 consultants.
Spire saw over 260,000 in-patient and day case patients in 2014 comprising of privately insured and NHS commissioned patients, as well as an increasing number of patients who self-fund their treatment.
Traditionally people have thought of self-funded healthcare as cosmetic procedures for people wanting to give themselves an aesthetic boost, but more and more people are self-funding the full range of procedures for all sorts or healthcare challenges, from heart conditions to hip replacements.
There is mounting evidence that the self-pay sector of the market will continue to grow as people choose to pay for other procedures and treatments so they can have them exactly when and where they want and with their desired consultant.
Factors driving growth include: the well documented increasing NHS waiting times, pressures on NHS Commissioning Groups funding certain procedures and exclusion levels on claims contained within some medical insurance products.
I spoke with Rob Anderson, Operations Director at Spire Healthcare, who has worked in operational and management roles in private healthcare for over 20 years:
‘Over recent years we have seen real growth in the number of people accessing our hospitals as self-paying patients. Individuals are choosing to fund their own private health treatments and, from speaking to patients, maximising quality of life has been a key driver.
‘We can offer fast access to high quality diagnostics and imaging and quick referral to procedure times, which is really appealing to our patients. With investments in new services including radiotherapy and cardiac services across our network we are able to help more patients in a private healthcare setting across an increasing range of specialties.’
Healthcare can be quite a daunting subject, but it is clear from Spire Healthcare’s move to fixed pricing and the offer of easy access to a wider range of patients that there is a focus on giving more choice and simplifying the process of getting referred and treated in a private setting.
Spire has worked to provide transparent fixed-prices and access to a 0% Representative finance plan provided by First Medical Loans which means more people can access their healthcare services.
It seems as though the emergence of self-pay healthcare means people who wish to take control of their treatment and recovery will have a greater ability to get back to what they love doing without having to wait, or have existing medical insurance.