Press release

Over 50s lose confidence in future of NHS

Monday 7 December 2009

  • 4.5 million* over 50s say the NHS has got worse over last two years
  • A third of over 50s believe the NHS will get worse over the next five years

Britons are very proud of our National Health Service and those over 50 are more inclined to use the service they provide. Eighty seven per cent have used it in the last two years (increasing to 94 per cent for those 75 and older). The good news is that 43% of the over 50s rated their experience with the NHS very good.

However research conducted by Saga Health** shows that a fifth of people aged over 50 think the NHS has got worse or much worse over the last two years. Looking ahead and with a potential squeeze on NHS spending and staff costs in mind, a staggering 35 per cent of over 50s believe the NHS will worsen over the next five years.

Avoiding NHS waiting lists, having flexibility in when and where to be treated, and cleanliness of hospitals are the top reasons why over 500,000 over 50s have already stopped relying completely on the NHS and have taken out private medical insurance**. Saga Health has seen a marked increase in purchases of healthcare policies from people that are concerned about their future health care and in response have made a number of refinements to their range of plans to provide even greater levels of cover.

Reasons sited for taking out private medical insurance are:

1. Avoid NHS waiting list

2. Choice of when and where to be treated

3. Cleanliness of Hospital

4. Recuperate in comfort

5. Better quality of care

6. Choice of Consultant

Andrew Goodsell, Executive Chairman, Saga Group, concluded: “Older people are very reliant on the NHS. The worry for many people is that pressures to cut public spending could adversely affect the quality of health care. Health is a key concern of today’s over 50s who are more active than any previous generation. If they suffer a medical problem, they want to get treated and recuperate as quickly as possible to get on with their busy lives.”


Notes to editors:

*Research conducted via Saga / Populus poll in September 2009 among 8,182 UK adults aged 50+. 21% of respondents answered they believed the NHS has got worse (17%) or much worse (4%). 21% of 21,290,000 adults aged 50+ = 4.47 million

** Research conducted via Saga / Populus poll in March 2009 among 11,633 UK adults aged 50+.

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



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