Shortage of NHS GPsIt’s no secret that GPs are stretched to breaking point. But in Wales the situation is fast reaching critical.
According to The British Medical Association (BMA), nearly a quarter of all Welsh GPs are approaching retirement age and are expected to step back from front-line patient care within the next five years. However, there aren’t nearly enough newly qualified GPs to take their places1.
By 2022 patients are set to see waiting times of at least a week for an appointment with their local GP or practice2. This news comes after 74 GP surgeries across Wales were labelled at imminent risk of closing3 (The identity of these surgeries has not been disclosed to the public).
It is claimed by the Royal College that 400 full-time-equivalent GPs will be needed in Wales by 2020 in order to respond effectively to the crisis in public healthcare4.
The cost of poor healthcare
"If patients can’t secure an appointment with their GP when they need one, it's probable that they will return at some point to another area of the NHS, when their condition may have worsened, and where their care will cost the health service significantly more.”2
A move toward private care
In the private sector, health insurance providers have been attempting to combat the crisis from a different angle. By redesigning their policies, private health providers aim to cut lengthy delays and respond to GP referral requirements, ensuring quality care continues to be readily available to those in need.
These changes mean that patients can self-refer to private consultants or practitioners for a number of critical conditions including cancer and mental health issues.
Some insurance providers are even going as far as to include cover for private GP appointments either face-to-face or via web chat.
The price of Medical Insurance
In the face of the declining state of NHS services in Wales, private medical cover is unsurprisingly becoming more common. While desperation in the face of NHS services might force you to spend out on expensive private treatment, medical insurance is designed to cover the cost of care from diagnosis through to treatment.
Private medical insurance not only means cutting through delays in the primary services, but also means bypassing long waiting lists for tests and surgeries which you might otherwise feel compelled to pay for.
Is your Health Insurance providing you with the cover you need? Find out more about private medical insurance from Jelf.