The British public have lost so much faith in the NHS system over the last few years that more and more people are turning to private health insurance as a way of covering themselves against future illness. And is it any wonder when you look at the state of our health service? Every day's press will bring a horror story of someone's ill treatment at the hands of the NHS. This isn't simply scaremongering - these things really happen and there is a lot more that goes on that isn't reported.
Let's take a look at recent events that might just encourage people to invest in health insurance as a safeguard against having to accept health treatment at the hands of this government.
First, we have the busy tourist town hospital on a bank holiday Monday. One of the busiest days of the year for hospitals all over the country and you would expect extra staff to be drafted in to cover the expected increase in business. Not so for Bridlington Hospital in North Yorkshire.
They left one nurse to run a thirty bed ward by herself! This would normally be the duty of seven nurses and maybe even more at a time when the town is deluged by an influx of visitors and tourists. How can it be possible that the patients would get even the basic care they needed with only nurse to tend them, let alone what would happen if an emergency were to occur.
This hospital is one of many that have seen ridiculous and dangerous cut backs implemented in order to save money that put patient's lives at risk. They are on a drive to save two million pounds but recently came in for harsh criticism when they advertised for finance staff when there was a shortage of nurses.
The Government have even considered doing away with Bridlington hospital but after a petition of 37,000 signatures was raised in the local area against closure, services were retained for the present time. Although with one nurse to a ward during such a busy period I imagine the locals would be better advised to take up that health insurance and make sure they cover themselves.
So where is all the NHS cash going and how come it isn't better distributed?
At a cost of 75 pounds per patient, an NHS scheme has been launched to put obese people through a six week fitness programme with a personal trainer and free gym sessions to help them lose weight. I don't deny that obesity is a rapidly growing problem throughout the UK and that the cost of this is putting a strain on the NHS but whatever happened to people being responsible for themselves and what they put in their own mouths?
Surely, it would make sense to equip all hospitals with the staff they need to take care of the genuinely sick before they start dishing out free gym sessions for those who cannot stop eating?
Obesity related problems cost the NHS 500 pounds million a year. Would this money not be better spent on a few extra nurses? There is also an extortionate amount of public money spent on smoking related illnesses every year. In an ideal world, those addicted to food as well as cigarettes would be assisted in their fight to stop but this isn't an ideal world and there are limited funds so why not use them for people who are sick through no fault of their own rather than for those with self inflicted problems?
A representative of one health centre running the gym sessions have stated that it is their goal to ensure everybody knows how good it feels to feel fit and full of energy. In that case, maybe they should supply these sessions to all those that get up and go to work, slogging their guts out every day to fund health insurance premiums so that they don't get stuck on the end of an NHS waiting list when their time of need comes.
This is money that could be used to save and improve lives and several schemes that would do just that have been stopped due to finances. The Government's delay in funding courses of one particular drug was reported to have cost 20,000 people their sight. This would have been covered by health insurance but why should people have to pay into that when we have a health system in place that we already to pay into? Add to this the reason of non-cost effectiveness for the governments answer to a ban on a drug to treat Alzheimer's and you end up with a seriously disillusioned public. This was the drug that cost just 2.50 pounds a day.
It seems public money is unfairly allocated throughout the whole of the NHS system and some better planning is what we have all known has been needed for quite some time.
Insurance expert Catherine Harvey looks at the way people are becoming more reliant on health insurance and losing faith in the health system.