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COVID-19 hospitals update

COVID-19 hospitals update

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Back in early April (which feels as though it’s in the distant past now, despite only being a few weeks ago), the independent private hospital sector was allocating its resources to the NHS to increase capacity; and naturally there was an impact on private medical insurance schemes and members.

Reports suggest that, during the current crisis, the NHS has seen a significant drop in non-COVID-19 usage, importantly with cancer referrals significantly reduced, and people attending A&E with heart attack symptoms reduced by circa 50%.

Now that the influx of COVID-19 patients into the NHS has started to slow (at least for the time being) and lockdown restrictions are slowly relaxing, the NHS has begun to gradually release facilities back to the private sector. This will allow some urgent and elective surgeries to go ahead, theoretically effective immediately; however, in practice, it remains to be seen how quickly “normal service” resumes.

It will take time for hospitals and clinics to adjust their layout and processes to minimise infection risk, and we also shouldn’t underestimate the behavioural impact on people who may be fearful of potentially exposing themselves to the virus after weeks of isolating and staying at home, or who may still feel reluctant to be a “burden” on the beleaguered healthcare system at this time.

Nevertheless, we anticipate that (assuming our progression through the pandemic continues to head in the right direction), this is the first step in restoring private healthcare services to normal, and we will begin to see the very low claims trends throughout April and May starting to reverse.

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