Conference: CII boss predicts growing demand for private healthcare in the UK
By Johanna Gornitzki
The private medical insurance (PMI) sector will experience massive growth in sales within the next few years as the NHS faces new challenges, according to Dr Sandy Scott, director general of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
Speaking at the annual Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries (AMII) conference last month, Dr Scott argued that the PMI sector's future success is "guaranteed", as the public healthcare sector will be struggling with issues such as slow fund growth and service delivery challenges, including staff morale, new drugs and an ageing population.
He said: "The NHS cannot survive in its present form. Instead, I predict increasing restrictions on certain treatments such as herceptin. In addition, means-testing and co-payments could become a reality. Other areas could also be deemed completely unsuitable for NHS treatment."
Dr Scott said there would, therefore, be a huge and evolving demand for private healthcare: "After years of stagnation, I wouldn't be surprised if the market increases by 15% within the next few years."
Regardless of this, Dr Scott revealed that a recent CII survey had showed that only 19% of intermediaries felt the sector had a higher image than other sectors. This is despite the fact that 59% of respondents felt that image was very important, and 33% deemed it was important.
Between 1997 and 2005, the number of people covered by a PMI policy fell from 6.82 million to 6.54 million.
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