Facts and Figures on PMI
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Facts and Figures Around Private Healthcare in the UK

Many of the posts on this blog are based around the theme of PMI and private healthcare. What we would like to do in this post is to give you some stats about the sector, in order to get a better insight into its size and shape.

Facts and figures about private health in the UK are actually quite hard to come by. One reason for this is the lack of a central body that organises and administers to the sector; this means that there is no central body to collect data on the industry.

Another reason is that the data that is available is privately held and the owners charge relatively high fees to buy a copy of a study or report.

Also - data that is collected can frequently be out of date pretty quickly, as the industry changes so fast, and there tend to be many rapid changes between private healthcare and the NHS.

You will find much more data on the NHS than you ever would for private. This is due to the government requirement for stats to be openly and freely available.

Having said that, there are bits and pieces that one can find out about private health that can be quite illuminating:

The Big Picture
  • 7.2 million people in the UK had PMI in 2010 (11.7% of the population) (Laing Buisson, 2010)
  • Total spending on public healthcare in 2013 was £127bn (Nuffield Trust, 2013)
  • Total spending on private healthcare in 2013 was £25bn (Nuffield Trust, 2013)
  • 69% of PMI sales in 2009 were made to corporate customers (Private Health Care in the UK, Slideshare, 2013)
  • Self-Pay accounts for around 13% of private health care treatments (Kings Fund, 2014)


The health industry as a whole provides 7% of all the jobs in the UK. Of these, 21% of health workers were employed by the private sector, and 73% worked in the NHS. The rest is made up of volunteers. (http://www.privatehealthadvice.co.uk/, 2015)

Costs of Treatment
Some people who are attracted to the “self-pay” private option are often put off when they see the actual cost of diagnosis, treatment and consultation in a private environment:
  • Hip replacement £8,200 - £12,704
  • Vasectomy £660 - £1,379
  • Impacted wisdom tooth £1,450 - £2,150
  • Cataract extraction £2,325 - £3,537
  • Amputation of toe £1,800

(Stats taken from Net Doctor, 2013 and Freedom Health, 2014)

As you can see these routine operations are not cheap - and when you add in the factor of possible complications in treatment into the mix, the self-pay option doesn’t look so inviting.

Scope of Private Healthcare
The term “private healthcare” actually covers a wide range of caring professions, not just private hospitals for acute medical treatment. In its broadest sense, the term covers:

Elderly care
Cosmetic surgery
Disabled care and support
Private dentists
Other therapies such as Physio and Chiropractic

Note: Private medical insurance does not cover these broader healthcare elements (except Physio and Chiropractic in certain cicumstances), we only list them here for informational purposes.