Pandemic prompts more people to consider private care

More than a fifth of people (22%) say the Covid-19 pandemic has made them more likely to consider using private healthcare compared to before. 

According to a new YouGov poll, 83% of those who are more likely to consider private healthcare believe they can be treated quicker privately.

Seven in ten (71%) cited concerns over NHS waiting lists (5.7m people) as a reason they would consider going private.

The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), which commissioned the survey, said affordability was a barrier to many, with 71% citing concerns over the cost of private healthcare treatment. 

62% said the pandemic has made no difference to whether they would consider going private.

Matt James

PHIN chief executive Matt James said: ‘Our poll helps shine a light on how people’s opinions are forming over healthcare since the outset of Covid-19, with more than a fifth saying that since the pandemic they are now more likely to consider going private.

‘With hundreds of thousands of NHS and private elective operations lost in 2020 due to the pandemic, and waiting lists consistently in the news, it is perhaps unsurprising to see people considering self-funding private treatments even if they had not done so previously.

‘We would say to all those thinking about this route to make sure they are fully informed so they make the choices that are correct for them and to avoid surprises.’

He said it was important for people to ask the right questions about costs as well as the performance of the consultant and hospital facilities.

‘Our website can help people research their private healthcare options, helping them navigate a confusing system, particularly those self-paying.’

PHIN provides a range of data about private healthcare hospitals and consultants on its website at, including consultants’ fees for their initial consultations and a guide to self-funding treatment.