Shocking Rise in Equity Release for Urgent Medical Treatment Amid NHS Waiting List Crisis

With the NHS grappling with mounting waiting lists, people are exploring alternative avenues to fund their medical procedures, leading to a rise in the utilization of equity release.

3 mins read

Key Takeaways:

  • Growing number of individuals turn to equity release as a means to finance non-emergency surgeries due to prolonged NHS waiting lists.
  • 55Plus, an independent equity release specialist, experiences a surge in inquiries related to medical treatment payments.
  • Liverpool Victoria reveals a significant increase in the percentage of equity release funds allocated for medical purposes.
  • Case study highlights the financial struggles faced by a 71-year-old woman in need of hip surgery.
  • A YouGov study unveils that 59% of workers in the UK lack insurance coverage and rely on the NHS for medical care.

As the NHS waiting lists continue to soar, a growing number of individuals are turning to equity release as a viable solution to finance non-emergency surgeries. 55Plus, an independent equity release specialist, has witnessed a remarkable increase in inquiries from individuals seeking funds to cover medical treatments due to the prolonged waiting times within the National Health Service. Some patients are reported to be facing wait times of up to two years for critical knee and hip replacements.

Struggling NHS Spurs Surge in Equity Release Cases

Despite being classified as non-urgent, many medical conditions requiring surgery can result in income loss and, in some cases, even unemployment, particularly for self-employed individuals. The recent surge in equity release cases reflects a growing trend of patients taking control of their healthcare by seeking alternative options amidst the NHS crisis and escalating waiting lists.

According to data obtained by 55Plus from Liverpool Victoria, a leading UK life and pensions mutual insurer, medical treatment accounted for 2% of all funds released from January to March this year, a significant increase compared to just 0.3% during the same period in 2022. These figures indicate the profound impact of the NHS waiting list crisis on individuals’ financial decisions.

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Case Study: Overcoming Financial Hardships with Equity Release

Elisabeth Kneath, a retired English teacher residing in Steyning, West Sussex, faced a lengthy two-year wait for a hip replacement through the NHS. Having already sold her car and depleted her savings to fund her first hip replacement in 2021, Elisabeth found herself in dire financial straits when she urgently required surgery on her second hip.

Elisabeth shares her ordeal, stating, “I was in serious pain and had to move my bed downstairs. Despite my inability to walk properly, the NHS classified my operation as routine and non-urgent. I used to enjoy daily walks along the river, but my hip ailment had brought it all to a halt. After exhausting my savings on the first hip surgery, I found myself buried in significant debt.”

Elisabeth ultimately opted for equity release to finance her hip surgery and alleviate the burden of her previous medical expenses. She emphasizes the importance of equity release, stating, “When the NHS cannot prioritize your case and your pain begins to affect various aspects of your life, equity release can provide the necessary funds for your immediate medical needs and any future medical issues.”

Implications of NHS Strikes on Waiting Lists

The NHS is currently grappling with its most extensive strike in history, with junior doctors demanding a 35% pay raise. This industrial action is expected to have a ripple effect on waiting lists, exacerbating an already challenging situation. As a result, individuals relying on the NHS for medical care should be prepared for further delays and extended waiting times.

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A YouGov study conducted in March 2022 sheds light on the predicament faced by a significant portion of the population. It revealed that a staggering 59% of workers across Britain are uninsured and heavily reliant on the NHS for their healthcare needs due to the inability to afford private healthcare options. This finding further highlights the urgency and significance of finding alternative funding avenues, such as equity release, for medical treatments.

NHS Strikes and the Lingering Consequences

The ongoing industrial action across England has created unprecedented disruptions in health services. The NHS has stated that appointments and operations will only be canceled when absolutely necessary, with alternative dates offered to patients as soon as possible. However, these disruptions and delays inevitably contribute to longer waiting times, causing distress and frustration among patients in need of medical care.

Jan Johnson, Founder and Director of 55Plus, emphasizes the lack of awareness among individuals aged 55 and above regarding equity release as a potential solution. This financial option has proven to be invaluable for those facing painful and financially stressful situations arising from non-urgent emergency procedures. By exploring equity release, individuals can regain control over their healthcare decisions and secure the necessary funds to address their medical needs.

55Plus: Pioneering Equity Release Solutions

55Plus, headquartered in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, is at the forefront of providing comprehensive services in the field of equity release. The company offers expertise in various aspects, including home improvements, debt clearance, existing mortgage assistance, home security, financial support for friends and family, and managing rising bills. Collaborating with later-life planners, mortgage brokers, financial advisors, solicitors, debt management firms, and estate agents across the UK, 55Plus caters to the diverse needs of individuals aged 55 and above.

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The company has observed a remarkable increase in the number of clients seeking equity release for medical purposes. With rising healthcare costs and mounting waiting lists, individuals are recognizing the value of equity release as a viable option to access funds promptly and alleviate the financial strain associated with medical treatments.

The Future of Healthcare Funding

As the NHS grapples with ongoing challenges, including strikes, budget constraints, and an overwhelmed system, it is crucial for individuals to explore alternative avenues for funding their healthcare needs. While equity release offers a solution for many, it is essential to consider the potential long-term implications and consult with financial advisors or experts in the field to make informed decisions.

Furthermore, addressing the issue of uninsured workers in the UK is of utmost importance. The findings from the YouGov study shed light on the vulnerability of a significant portion of the population, highlighting the need for comprehensive and accessible healthcare options.

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