James O'Brien ponders private health care and its benefits

2 August 2021, 12:45 | Updated: 2 August 2021, 12:51

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

James O'Brien explains what needs to be done to the health service to make private healthcare seem unattractive.

The NHS waiting list in England has ballooned to 5.3 million, including nearly 4,000 patients who have been waiting for two years, and it's leading people to pay for their own surgery, it has been reported

James said "one of the biggest confusions" for him with regards to the NHS and lockdown was the argument that it was the lockdown were lengthening the waiting list.

He said most of the medics he had spoken to argued the opposite and he was quick to point out it is "the coronavirus which has caused the lengthening waiting lists."

James said when he was younger he was "adamant that money should not buy you any advantages in terms of health or education."

But, he said this was one of the areas where age had "withered" him.

"If I pay £10,000 for a hip replacement then you go ahead of me on the waiting list."

James said the problem comes when you have a very large NHS waiting list and huge advantage to be gained by paying.

"What you really want is a national health service that is so good and so fit for purpose that the only benefit of going private is to get your own room and nicer sandwiches."

The Mail reports that charities say increasing numbers of patients who have been waiting for months are now choosing to go private "as a last resort", while some are considering taking out loans.

Britain’s largest private hospital group, HCA, said there had been an increase in "higher acuity care" since the beginning of the Covid outbreak, including a 20 per cent increase in "self-funded cardiothoracic inpatient procedures’.

This includes operations on the heart and chest such as heart bypass operations.