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WPA Healthcare Practice reflects on 2020

WPA Healthcare Practice reflects on 2020

The past 18 months have certainly changed the shape of the UK health system, probably forever.  It has been heart-warming to see the power of the NHS and what can be achieved in times of crisis. 

Leaps in progress have been taken in pharmaceutical research trials, the UK vaccination roll out has been a major success, and our lives are now slowly returning back to some form of normality.  But there is no doubt that the COVID-19 outbreak has had a huge impact on core NHS services. 

At peak crisis the NHS was forced to shut down or significantly reduce many areas of non-COVID care.  This, combined with fewer patients seeking care during lockdown, meant that there has been a significant drop in elective procedures, urgent cancer referrals, first cancer treatments and outpatient appointments (1).

As the NHS begins the vital task of reopening non-COVID services, it now faces a huge backlog of unmet patient need, with patients now facing long waits for treatment.  With health and NHS uncertainty at the fore front of people’s minds, we are looking more than ever to the private health sector to cover health needs. 

In early 2020 at the start of the pandemic, the NHS took over all the capacity of private hospitals, its 8,000 beds, 680 operating theatres and 20,000 staff, to carry out non-COVID emergency treatments for cancer, stroke and heart patients (2).  Private hospitals are now (August 2021), on the whole, back to pre-COVID operational levels.  Meaning that those individuals who wish to self-pay or use private medical insurance to fund their healthcare are now able to do so.

Historically, increased waiting times in the NHS have led to an increased demand for private care (3) and current figures show that the number of people buying private health insurance for the first time has doubled since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak (4).

Our WPA Healthcare Partners throughout the pandemic have been working remotely to help individuals and families find the right WPA Health Insurance product to meet their needs, providing peace of mind when people need it the most.  They continue to meet (virtually) with new and existing customers to ensure that any cover meets their demands and needs.  

Time will tell the true impact of the pandemic on the NHS and the Private Healthcare industry in the UK.  However, if the last year has taught us anything it is that we must continue to protect our most valuable asset, our health. 


  •  The Guardian
  • Besley, Hall and Preston, 1999.
  • Active Quote, figures correct as of Feb 2021

WPA Healthcare Practice Plc

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