GPs Are Now Asking Patients to Consider Private Healthcare.

GPs Are Now Asking Patients to Consider Private Healthcare.

I am a strong advocate for the NHS. Personally, I’ve not used the NHS much. However, my brother and mother used to have severe asthma. Everyone would have their thumb over their phones ready to dial 911 at the first sign of an attack. I’m eternally grateful for all they have done for my family, and the support they showed when I was in that hospital for days at a time.

The budget cuts to the NHS have hit towns around England hard. Specialised units have been to shut down

, forcing people to travel to the next town over to get the help they need. I can not imagine what it is like when your town’s A&E unit closes down. A thing like that would make anyone worry, whether they have an existing medical condition or not.

Since they’re already closing hospital units, it shouldn’t surprise me that the NHS has launched a new controversial policy to ‘balance the books’. Patients will now be asked to consider private health care to help ease pressure on the NHS. 

For the first time in the history of the health service, family doctors have been instructed to quiz the sick, elderly and vulnerable over whether they have a private health policy.

That’s not exactly a conversation I want have when I’m trying to figure what’s wrong with me.

It emerged today that health chiefs in Essex have given local GPs a “gentle reminder” to ask patients to consider using private health insurance if they have it in a bid to save the NHS money.

NHS Mid Essex CCG has seen a 6% increase in referrals to private healthcare since it wrote to practices asking them to discuss with patients how they can use private insurance.

I doubt this is very comfortable for the doctors. This is not America. We don’t have pharma companies dumping billions on doctors to have them deliver a well-practiced speech about their product. No, this is the English doctor scratching his head wondering why he wasn’t told about this part of the job description. 6% may seem like a small number, but it shows people frustration at the NHS.

And Dr David Wrigley, a GP and deputy chair of the BMA, which represents 150,000 doctors, blasted: “It is a sad state of affairs when GPs are asked by their CCGs to encourage patients to use private healthcare for their illnesses. Surely, with their own GP suggesting this, it will make patients think the NHS is not coping and lead to them seriously consider purchasing costly private health insurance.”

Just imagine it as if you went to watch a football game: Now, you do not directly pay for your seat but you have donated to the funds. A footballer comes up to you and says “Are you sure you don’t want to watch the other team across town play? It costs about £5000 extra a year. And, oh, you still need to carry on donating your funds here. You can still come here. But, just think about it… the seats are limited.” It is true that the seats are limited, but you’ve been waiting weeks to get in.

I understand the sentiment. They are struggling. But it is a vicious cycle: cuts are made, patients are neglected, patients seek private health care, and then more cuts are made.

It is not yet known if this program will be steamrolled over the rest of England. Yet, it seems that the NHS Mid Essex are the only ones doing the scheme right now.

I don’t see the situation improving, but I hope that it does. I love the NHS. If you would like to see some positive stories about the NHS, you should check out NHS Million. Sometimes when we hear all these bad stories, we forget that the NHS is still helping millions of people.


Nora Ralph

Student, worker, and Co-Founder of the #Killstream. You can also catch me on TheRalphretort Rundown.

  • Toastrider

    Nora, maybe your family’s been lucky, but the British NHS seems to be a spawning pool of horror stories, where just getting basic care is impressive (assuming you don’t die from it).

    I’ve been seeing similar stories about the VA here stateside, where VA administrators have been putting veterans on waiting lists while spending millions on interior decoration. People complain about the profit motive, and I understand it; but state-run medicine has no motivation at all, save to perpetuate itself.

    • d0x360

      I’ve heard the opposite. My grandmother a natural born English citizen left with her husband in the 50s for America and obtained dual citizenship.

      My grandmother went to England for vacation when she was about 83 and had massive health issues after she got there. It was just her time to have issues. She got into a hospital immediately, she got amazing care, care when says was better than she got in America at her many hospital stays.

      The hospital in England literally took care of everything.. EVERYTHING even coordinating with their airline so they wouldn’t be charged any fees for leaving late due to the health issue.

      They were absolutely top notch. So I find it hard to believe someone who lives in England can’t get care when a women who left in the 1950s and lived in America since gog immediate excellent care…makes no sense.

      That’s why I dont believe a word of it when people say it’s terrible or has massive issues. Even my family who lives in England all love it..there are about 14 of them across the entire age range.

      I’ll take their word and my grandparents word over some political propaganda to try to keep that kind of system out of the USA. It would benefit everyone and everyone would get the best care possible no matter where they live and what they have in the bank. Oh the horror… excellent health care for all please no..

  • I’m in the UK as well, and the NHS is definitely one of the better things the country has over the many other countries that require payment for healthcare.

  • ThatGuy

    Sorry for the sad state of affairs Nora. Truly.

    But right now? My reaction to the state of the NHS is AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHhhahahahahahaaeehheeeehohohoooo… and I thought my jokes were bad.

  • tz1

    Someone has to pay for the NHS. You don’t want to. You like it because it is “free” to you, or the price is hidden in your taxes.
    If you like the NHS, really like it that much, you should be willing to increase taxes as much as needed to pay for the services at the level you wish them to be.
    There is no free lunch. Only takers and moochers.
    You’re happy to take but not to pay.
    As Lady Thatcher said, “Socialism is great until you run out of other People’s money.

  • Maintenance Renegade

    Socialism fails yet again. Face it socialist programs are never financially solvent in the end and they always bleed out and collapse into corruption and dysfunction.

    • Silence Dogood

      Socialized medicine works, just not when your population grows suddenly and becomes out of control because you have a bunch of migrants and people who think marrying their first cousin is a good fucking idea because “muh culture”. Soon(tm) the UK will be out of the EU and will hopefully reinvest the funds they were wasting on the EU on social projects that need them.

      • Maintenance Renegade

        See Brits and Canadians SAY that their socialized medicine works but their state medical programs are perpetually in arrears. Understand I’m not trumpeting our current American system, as it stands we’re paying a small number of bloodthirsty corporations what we would be paying for socialized medicine and mostly being denied medical care at all in most cases.

        In my opinion it all went wrong the moment doctors stopped being highly trained tradesmen whose attention you bought by paying them directly. I advocate a free market system where we’re not paying for state programs or insurance companies and we each just get whatever doctor we can afford to buy.

  • Pavement ApeHunter

    It’s freeloading shit skins like you that caused the problem in the first place. Flood a country with Paki scum, what do expect to happen.

  • RevDr. Robert Foster, AbC, EfG

    We don’t have pharma companies dumping billions on doctors to have them deliver a well-practiced speech about their product.

    Really, Miss Nora? You bought into that naturopathic nonsense? Do me a big favor, please, when you visit the States: Roll into a hospital, and then a private care clinic, and talk with the doctors about this mythical billions they’re getting. And then come back here and tell us how many laughed in your face.

  • F Harper

    19th century economist Frédéric Bastiat argued that laws and institutions carry benefits and drawbacks that are both seen and unseen. In the case of the NHS, you have the seen benefit of health care being provided, but it is much more difficult to quantify what long-term benefits were foregone by the creation of such a massive government-run institution. You also need to start thinking in terms of systems and incentives. You need to understand the negative effects of restricting choices and funneling money into bureaucratic enterprises.

    Start here:

    Always keep in mind that nowhere in the industrialized world is there anything even resembling a free market in medicine. The US is worse in some respects than Europe.

  • Danlantic

    Dial 911? I thought that was 999 in England. Did Nora make a typo or did some American editor edit her or what?