Growth in the private medical insurance (PMI) market slowed to 1.4% in 2013 due to the squeeze in consumer spending and public healthcare funding; a study has found.
According to Private Healthcare, a market report published by market intelligence provider, Key Note, the total private healthcare market in the UK grew year-on-year over the past 5 years.
The market benefitted from an ageing population and growing demand for health services, as well as an increase in public funding for the healthcare system and higher levels of National Health Service (NHS) outsourcing; the report said.
However, while the rate of growth slowed in recent years, to 1.4% in 2013, Key Note forecasted modest future growth.
It predicted that the UK private healthcare market will grow by 2.6% in 2014.
The report also found the market is dominated by the long-term care sector, which accounted for 47.4% of the total private healthcare revenues in 2013.
This was followed by the acute medical care and the psychiatric care sectors, with market shares of 22.1% and 16%, respectively.
Meanwhile, the percentage of people who underwent a routine procedure privately increased from 4.7% to 5.6% between June 2011 and February 2014.
Those who had emergency/non-routine treatment privately in the last 12 months also rose from 2.2% to 3.6%.
Additionally, 4.5% of respondents with private medical insurance said they have PMI because of concerns over problems in the NHS in February 2014, up from 3% in June 2011.
Despite this, over 80% of respondents said they would prefer to use the NHS for routine procedures, emergency and acute care if waiting lists were reduced and conditions improved.
Almost half (48.2%) of respondents believed the NHS is superior to private healthcare for emergency and serious complex healthcare treatments.