Going Private

Evidence of a generational shift in attitudes and usage

Our research showed evidence of a generational shift in attitudes towards private healthcare, manifesting itself in terms of general support, tendency or willingness to use, or having already used private healthcare. This has potentially key implications for the long-term future of the sector.

Younger people (between 18 and 34 years of age) are generally more:

  • positive about the private sector
  • willing to consider using it
  • likely to have used the sector
  • likely to have accessed private GP services
  • likely to have paid for their own treatment

Young people are generally more positive about private healthcare

Do you have a generally positive or negative attitude towards private healthcare?

Overall, 24% of those who’d used private healthcare said they had used it for an appointment with a private GP. This rate increased dramatically in the younger age groups. Nearly half (45%) of all 18 to 24-year-olds who had used private healthcare had accessed GP appointments privately, with the rate of usage dropping off as the age of respondents goes up – just 6% of those aged 65 or more had used private GPs.

Younger people (18-34) were much more likely than the general population to have used private healthcare to access GP services. 45% of 18 to 24 and 39% of 25 to 34-year-olds who had used private healthcare have accessed a GP. This drops to only 6.5% among the over 65s.

This provides further evidence that younger and older people are using the private healthcare system for different things – and it is possible that the strong digital presence of GP services is driving engagement among younger people.

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