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Date: 18 Sep 2015  Written By PPF
People currently with private medical insurance must be wondering why governments seem to want them to use the NHS. Look at recent government actions: Gordon Brown stopped tax relief on private medical costs and has driven about half a million people to give up on paying their own way in healthcare. Now the present government - probably by accident - has increased the cost of medical insurance by including it in the blanket increase in Insurance Premium Tax. That puts a straight 3½% onto premiums that are already going up inexorably with medical inflation and age. What effect will that have? It will drive more people out of private healthcare. It’s worth remembering that everyone who uses private healthcare makes the NHS better for those who cannot afford or don’t want to go private - because there is more NHS to go round fewer patients… Now some may say that this rise serves them right for buying privilege! That’s a point of view but when the effect o...

Date: 01 May 2015  Written By PPF
When the OFT sent its investigation into the private healthcare market to the then Competition Commission, PPF pressed unsuccessfully for the inclusion of the private medical insurers in that investigation. Increasingly, some insurers control the selection of medical consultant and of hospital. PPF has argued that this is not fair for patients - see the top issue on our website. The non-inclusion of the insurers in the investigation was a major aspect of the recent private medical consultants’ case which went before a Competition Appeal Tribunal. The result of that Appeal has just been published. A link to it is on the PPF website. PPF thinks that the rejection of that part of the Appeal is wrong. Some 85% of private patients have their costs paid for by insurers and a large (and increasing) majority of those are in arrangements in which patients have their choice restricted by the insurer. PPF continues to believe that the power of some insurers could be detrimental to p...

Date: 18 Nov 2014  Written By -
One of the issues that might well lead to PPF not hearing from patients who have concerns about treatment is fear. Some patients think that making a complaint will lead to some sort of sanction. It might be that the doctor will decide not to treat you in future, to send for you for additional (possibly costly and unnecessary) tests or whatever. It may be that the hospital will react badly and the staff be difficult on a future visit. PPF has recently received an email setting out one patient’s experience. It doesn’t make good reading for two of the leading hospital providers (names to be published when PPF has finished its investigation). Go to the PPF site 'comments from patients". The obvious concern is low staffing levels/‘agency staff’ and not seeing the consultant before discharge. The ‘missing’ doctor problem can happen because private work is only a small part of the consultant’s workload. That is not acceptable. Have a read of the s...

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