Research by market analysts LaingBuisson suggests there is optimism and confidence about the future of self-pay, although there are barriers to growth.
These include reports of growing waits for initial private consultations and treatment, plus consumers not being signposted into private healthcare choices and options, according to self-pay consultant for the company, Liz Heath.
She reported growing recognition that the NHS might be unable to be as responsive and available for planned diagnostic and elective treatment in the future, and the signs were that many people were able to save during Covid.
Talking of online reviews, she quoted research by Reputation in 2021 in the US showing 80% of health consumers trust online reviews, and ratings are the third most important factor for patients after insurance and location.
Are they patients, customers or consumers?
It is customers every time for self-pay expert Mr Gregory. He said: ‘What is a customer? It is somebody who is seeking to purchase something either for themselves or somebody else and that’s exactly what a self-pay patient is.’