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Br J Gen Pract. 1992 Aug; 42(361): 326–329.
PMCID: PMC1372174

Study of patients who chose private health care for treatment.


A questionnaire survey was carried out in 1991 in Wessex regional health authority of a sample of private patients having inpatient treatment in eight independent hospitals, and in pay beds in three National Health Service hospitals. A total of 649 patients replied (response rate 60.7%). Sixty respondents to the questionnaire were also interviewed. The aim of the study was to discover which groups of people chose private care rather than using the NHS, and why. In view of the current emphasis on consumerism in health care, the study also aimed to examine how patients exercised choice in a market situation and how well informed they were when they did so. The questionnaire asked about the role and influence of the general practitioner in patients' decisions to use private health care for treatment. The largest group of respondents were in the 36-50 years age group (34.2%). Of the respondents 59.9% were women, 54.1% were in social class 2 and 77.3% were married or cohabiting. The most common reason for using private health care for treatment was to avoid NHS waiting lists (61.5% of respondents) although they did not necessarily know how long that wait would have been. Patients sought their general practitioner's opinion about whether to use private health care in 187 cases (28.8%). The majority of the 649 patients (71.2%) had decided to use private health care before consulting the general practitioner. However, patients were influenced by their general practitioner's advice on the choice of consultant and choice of hospital.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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