Demand for health insurance as an employee benefit is also on the rise as a result of Covid-19
The number of people considering private healthcare treatment and insurance has nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic, a research conducted for Equipsme has shown.
The nationwide survey of 1,049 UK adults found that 15% were open to paying for it before the Covid-19, however that figure has risen to 27%.
The research also found that younger people are most likely to consider paying privately for healthcare, with 30% of those aged 18-34 answering this way, compared to 22% of those aged 55 and over.
Waiting times for specialist treatment was the most common reason given for this interest. As many as 67% of those surveyed said they are worried about the NHS's ability to deal with non-urgent and non-Covid related conditions, while 76% people said they were concerned about NHS waiting lists.
The NHS Confederation warned earlier this month the Covid-19 crisis could see the number of people waiting for NHS treatment double to 10 million by the end of the year due to backlog of cases, social distancing measures and staff availability.
Matthew Reed, managing director at Equipsme, said: "People are inevitably thinking more about their health, and prioritising how they look after themselves and their families. The result is that interest in private medical insurance is actually rising - which at a time when many are facing financial hardship is pretty remarkable.
"If we've learnt anything over the last three months we've learnt how much people love and value the NHS - but they're also worried about it," he added. "More than three quarters are concerned about waiting times as it tries to catch up with itself after Covid. Private medical insurance is a way of protecting themselves and their families - and protecting the NHS by taking some of the pressure off it."
The survey also indicated that health insurance as an employee benefit was preferred ahead of gym memberships, childcare vouchers and company phone, below pensions and flexible working.
Reed said: "Employers in particular can take note that this is something that people are increasingly interested in. Now more than ever we know how important it is to protect your workforce, and look after the people that make your business wheels go round. The working world has changed for good, and beer-and-pizza benefits in kind just aren't going to cut in anymore."
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On Wednesday 22 July