BMI Healthcare’s chief executive, Jill Watts, is calling on medical insurers and private hospitals to work closely together on improving the value of the ‘private healthcare offering’ – ensuring it meets patients’ needs in modern society.
Delivering a speech to an audience of finance executives, insurers, directors, investors and hospital operators at the LaingBuisson, Private Acute Healthcare Conference on October 12, Watts urged professionals to relieve the pressures on the NHS and for both parties to add ‘real value’ to insured patients.
Here is an extract of the speech:
“We’ve heard time and again from insurers that private hospitals need to be more affordable in order to reinvigorate the market. But price is not the issue – the issue is how we can attract more people back into private healthcare and offer a broader range of services which will put more balance into the overall system.
“More and more, we are seeing narrower insurance products with exclusion clauses emerge. And we continue to see them give incentives for private patients to have their care delivered in the public sector. This just devalues the insurance product and puts additional pressure on the NHS. The reality is that even if you do have access to top level private insurance you are still likely to have to rely on the public sector at some stage to meet your overall health needs.
“Unlike other countries where private hospitals play a much larger role in the delivery of the nation’s healthcare, the UK private sector has traditionally had a limited offering mainly focused around elective surgical procedures. The range of services offered does not really match the growing demand for healthcare in the UK.
“As the pressure on the overall system builds and waiting lists in the NHS grow, we are seeing an increasing number of people that are prepared to pay for their own care.
“Certainly, a core part of our strategy at BMI Healthcare is our investment in broadening the range of services that we offer, particularly in our flagship sites where we have the capability to offer a much broader range of services outside of the traditional surgical model.
“It is pleasing that insurers and hospitals are starting to work closer together to be more assertive in actively influencing the shape of our future. As an industry, we do need to take a more strategic approach to finding ways to alleviate pressure away from the NHS.
“The private sector has a lot to offer the overall system and we have a long track record of delivering excellent patient outcomes and high levels of patient satisfaction in a cost effective way. We need to take a more active role in positioning ourselves to governments as supporting and complementing the NHS to reduce the overall pressure on the system, not in competition with it.”
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