Report warns of insurance dip due to credit crunch.

Private hospital groups rely mostly on private medical insurance and self-paying patients but are facing increasing pressure as recession looms, say healthcare analysts Laing and Buisson.

The report found that fewer patients paid out of their own pocket for private hospital treatment last year, dropping to 16% of private hospitals’ revenues. According to the Financial Times, this is the first fall in several years and is down from a peak of about 22.5% in the early part of the decade.

This, the report said, was due to shorter NHS waiting times and a faltering economy. So far, PMI hasn’t been affected but there could be a knock-on effect.

“Self-pay spending [is] projected to decline more steeply and insurance demand is likely to become more vulnerable as unemployment rises, businesses struggle to grow, and individuals cut back spending,” William Laing, the company’s director, told the FT.