Press release

Over 50s healthcare needs change

Monday 21 September 2009

  • Top priority of over-50s is to avoid NHS waiting list
  • Cleanliness of hospital is now more important than in 2007
  • A third of patients over 50 not comfortable to receive visitors in an NHS hospital

Recent research* conducted by Saga Health has shown that the healthcare needs of the over-50s are changing. In 2007, the top reason the over 50s purchasing private medical insurance was to avoid the NHS waiting lists. Next most important was the freedom to choose when and where to receive medical treatment.

However, it seems the rise in coverage of MRSA cases in NHS hospitals has resulted in people now focusing on the “cleanliness of hospitals”, which jumped to 3rd most important concern in 2009. 68% of people surveyed** were worried about cleanliness and hygiene levels and only 1 in 10 (10%) were happy with the levels of hygiene in NHS hospitals. “Recuperating in comfort” is also much more important now, than it was in 2007.

90% of over 50s say they were comfortable or very comfortable to receive guests in private medical accommodation, compared to just over a third (36%) in NHS accommodation. Over-50s are also happier for their Grandchildren to visit them in a private hospital (41%) compared to NHS hospitals (37%).

When thinking about purchasing Private Medical Insurance, it is important to consider the full range of benefits on offer. Unrestricted visiting hours and free car parking can make it easier and more convenient for family and friends to visit. In addition, the privacy of your own room, relaxed environment and home comforts such as individual TVs and refreshments, are important factors, which can aid a speedy recovery.

Saga Healthplans offer a number of options to help tailor the cover required by customers to suit all budgets. These options include variable excesses, payment plans and also the choice to add a “4 week wait” option to their chosen plan. By having this waiting list add-on it means that if your specialist confirms that the NHS can provide the necessary treatment locally within four weeks, you would use their service instead. In addition, we include nine common conditions for which we will provide treatment with no wait at all, for example, gallbladder removal or cataract surgery***.

Andrew Goodsell, Executive Chairman, Saga Group, concluded: “Today’s over-50s are more active than ever before and want to live life to the full. If they suffer a medical problem they want to get treated and recuperate as quickly as possible. No wonder over 2 million people aged 50 and over choose private medical insurance”.


Editors notes:

*Research conducted via Saga / Populus poll in March 2007 and March 2009

**Research conducted via Opinium of 1,951 British adults between 16th and 19th May 2008

*** Treatments that require no waiting time include -

· Cataract surgery

· Varicose veins surgery

· Removal of gallbladder

· Haemorrhoidectomy

· Removal of bunions

· Correction of squint

· Insertion of grommets

· Tonsillectomy

· Adenoidectomy

For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529



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