OVERVIEW OF THE UK HEALTHCARE MARKET
Unlike many other countries, universal healthcare is offered in the UK through a National Health Service (NHS). It is free at the point of delivery for most services. Different versions of the NHS are run in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The private health system is comparatively small, accounting for about 15 per cent of total expenditure on healthcare. Only about one in 10 people are covered by health insurance.
Another characteristic is the historic divide between health and social care (including aged care), which is largely provided by business and charity organisations and where the balance between state and private funding is more evenly split.
We see our role in Bupa as contributing to a strong UK healthcare system by:
- Providing an accessible and high quality alternative for people who choose to pay for healthcare services
- Bringing additional funding into the whole healthcare system, reducing demand on the NHS
- Helping people to manage their health and wellbeing needs with access to everyday health services
- Providing high quality aged care for our growing older population.
Parts of the UK health and adult social care system are under stress from increased financial pressure, changing customer expectations and rising demand as the population grows, ages and faces more complex healthcare needs.
We see pressures on both consumers’ pockets and public funding, with system-wide challenges from rising hospital costs to government policy and regulatory interventions like tax rises and wage reform.
We have seen a long-term decline in the consumer health insurance market, so we need to convince people that quality healthcare can be affordable and accessible.
Where it all leads
With the UK health and social care system under financial pressure, politicians are looking at ways to maintain a sustainable system.
We believe the private sector has an important contribution to make. We can help meet some of the UK’s biggest healthcare challenges by developing products that employers and individuals are willing to pay for.
Many people have strong and emotive opinions about the NHS and the role of private healthcare. We are campaigning to change people’s perceptions about health insurance and emphasise the positive contribution we make.
Government policy and regulation also affects the private healthcare market. We are tackling these issues by making the case for fairer taxation on health insurance, campaigning to win Government incentives for workplace health and calling for a greater share of public funding for aged care.
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