Equity Release for Medical Treatments Surges as NHS Waiting Lists Grow

2 mins read

Key Takeaways:

  • More people are turning to equity release to fund non-emergency medical treatments due to long NHS waiting lists.
  • Equity release specialist 55Plus has received an influx of enquiries for surgeries.
  • Liverpool Victoria has reported that medical treatment now accounts for 2% of all equity release money released, compared to 0.3% in 2022.

Equity Release on the Rise for Medical Treatment as NHS Waiting Lists Lengthen

The NHS is facing unprecedented pressure as a rising number of people turn to equity release to pay for non-emergency medical treatments. With over 7.2 million people on NHS waiting lists, the long wait times have resulted in people looking for alternative funding options. 55Plus, an independent equity release specialist, has reported an increase in enquiries from people looking to pay for surgery due to NHS waiting lists. According to the company, cases across the industry have increased this year compared to the same period in 2022, from January to March.

The national company has expertise in all aspects of equity release and has witnessed an increase in people looking to pay for surgery. Some patients are reportedly waiting up to two years for knee and hip replacements, despite the conditions potentially leading to loss of income or even unemployment, especially for the self-employed.

Jan Johnson, Founder and Director of 55Plus, has said that with the NHS in crisis, more people are taking control of where and when they have procedures. “Many over 55s, who are more prone to having non-urgent emergency procedures, are sometimes not aware of equity release as an option. It has proven to be a valuable solution to painful and financially stressful situations,” added Johnson.

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LV (Liverpool Victoria) has reported that medical treatment now accounts for 2% of all equity release money released, compared to just 0.3% for the same period in 2022. The figures have highlighted how equity release is increasingly being used to fund non-urgent medical treatments.

Elisabeth Kneath, a retired English Teacher from Steyning-West Sussex, turned to equity release to pay for her hip surgery and outstanding debt from her first hip operation just after Covid. Kneath had already sold her car and spent all her savings on the first hip replacement in 2021, and with the NHS deeming her second hip operation as non-urgent and routine, she was left in serious financial trouble.

“I was in serious pain and had to move my bed downstairs. The NHS deemed it a routine operation and classed it as non-urgent, despite the fact I could barely walk. This was the second hip that needed surgery, and I had spent all my money on the first hip and was in serious debt,” said Kneath. “If you’re in a situation where the NHS cannot prioritise for you and you’re in a great deal of pain and it’s affecting your life in all sorts of ways, equity release can get you the money you need and some extra for further medical problems,” she added.

With the NHS facing the worst strike in its history, the situation is expected to get worse. Junior doctors are demanding a 35% pay rise, and this is likely to have a knock-on effect for NHS waiting lists. In March 2022, YouGov, the UK’s leading research group, found that 59% of workers across Britain are uninsured and would wait for NHS care as they cannot afford private healthcare.

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Industrial action across England this week will see unprecedented disruption to health services. The NHS has said that appointments and operations will only be cancelled where unavoidable and patients will be offered an alternative date as soon as possible. Consequently, many people will struggle with even longer waiting times.

Jan Johnson has urged those in need of medical treatment to consider equity release as an option. “Equity release can provide the necessary funds to pay for non-urgent medical treatments, which can greatly improve people’s quality of life and prevent them from falling into financial difficulties.”


In conclusion, with the NHS facing unprecedented pressure and long waiting lists, more people are turning to equity release to fund non-urgent medical treatments. Equity release can provide a valuable solution for those who are in pain and in need of treatment but cannot afford to wait for the NHS. However, it is important to consider equity release carefully and seek professional advice before making any decisions.

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