THE DEMAND for self-funded heart operations has soared because of Covid-hit NHS waiting lists, according to reports.
Because of the pandemic 5.3million Brits have been waiting for life saving NHS treatments for as long as two years.
Now health officials are becoming increasingly alarmed by the colossal backlog.
And charities have said that an increasing number of patients are being forced to go private “as a last resort”, reports the Mail.
HCA - Britain's largest private hospital group - told the paper that they have seen an increase in “higher acuity care” since the beginning of the pandemic.
Among these treatments are heart bypass operations, which can cost between £17,000 and a whopping £20,000.
And private provider Spire Healthcare have reported that since March 2020 the number of self-pay inquires has soared by 29 per cent.
Meanwhile both Nuffield health and BMI Hospitals have admitted that the demand from self-paying patients is “rising.”
'WANT TO GO BACK TO ENJOYING LIFE'
According to reports, healthcare sources have claimed that patients are even increasingly willing to pay for cancer care.
Data expert Liz Heath believes NHS delays are one of the main reasons so many patients are making the switch.
She said: “People are making their own decisions around their quality of life and their certainty of treatment. The uncertainty is difficult.
“There are some people, for example older demographics who would have spent a lot of money on holidays and have not had them, want to go back to enjoying life.
“They are thinking actually I will choose to spend that money.”
Two week ago the new Health Secretary warned hospital waiting lists could hit 13 million patients if Covid lockdowns continue.
Sajid Javid said the backlog will take "some considerable time to clear" as the current record number of 5.3 million people waiting for treatment looks set to more than double in the coming months.
He said many people had chosen not to go to hospital for fear of catching the virus, but also blamed a "very British" attitude of not wanting to heap too much pressure on the NHS.
Mr Javid now fears the number of patients waiting for treatment could more than double after being shown "shocking" modelling data.
He said: "What shocked me the most is when I was told that the waiting list is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
"It’s gone up from 3.5 million to 5.3 million as of today, and I said to the officials: 'so what do you mean [by] a lot worse', thinking maybe it goes from 5.3 to six million, seven million.
"They said no, it's going to go up by millions... it could go as high as 13 million.
"Hearing that figure of 13 million, it has absolutely totally focused my mind, and it’s going to be one of my top priorities to deal with because we can't have that."