Rob Cottingham, credit director at consumer finance specialist, Duologi, discusses the pressure on the NHS and how this can be alleviated via accessible private healthcare.
Despite efforts to alleviate the issue of NHS staff shortages and rising patient admissions which put the health services under increasing strain, it appears impossible to meet the growing demand for treatment in the UK.
In particular, this is hindering the handling of non-urgent care. From hip and knee replacements to IVF, many patients looking to undergo ‘non-essential’ surgeries are waiting up to two years for treatment and – in some cases – procedures are cancelled altogether. Despite not being critical, these operations are often vital for quality of life.
Many patients are therefore left with no other option but to turn to private healthcare practices to handle these costly procedures.
Flexible finance solutions, however, which enable healthcare providers to split the cost of their treatments into instalments, could help address this issue by making these procedures far more affordable and accessible to those who need them.
Not only could this alleviate the pressure on an already overburdened NHS, but private healthcare providers that effectively establish such offerings can expect to attract more patients and simultaneously boost revenue figures.
With this in mind, here are a few ways the sector can make private healthcare more financially accessible.
Putting it into practice
0% interest – Offer patients flexible finance without any added interest. Our recent research found that 38% of people would be more likely to utilise finance options if there was no mounting costs to consider. By making this type of service more commonplace, private practices can expect to increase their client base.
Buy now, pay later – Allow people to make no initial payment for treatment for a fixed period of time. After the agreed timeframe, if the original cost of care has not been paid, then monthly payments will begin to accrue interest. However, as this payment option requires no initial funding it will undoubtedly encourage more consumers to consider private treatment.
Effective promotion – Ensure patients are aware of the financial offerings available. Given that 94% of people wouldn’t even think to ask if a merchant offered POS credit, simple tools such as pop-up banners near till points, posters in the waiting room or a clearly visible website header can alert potential customers to the benefits of finance solutions. This provides a clear reason to purchase from that provider in particular.
It goes without saying that our growing and ageing population will only continue to place increased levels of strain on the NHS. The sector must therefore look to capitalise on rising demand for private healthcare.
By reducing the financial strain of non-public healthcare and making it more readily available through flexible finance, organisations can expect to increase treatment accessibility, improve patient satisfaction, as well as boosting their bottom line.