Written by

Peter Rigby - Director of Medical Negligence

The cost of living crisis is an issue which has been impacting Brits’ finances over the past year, and there are now concerns that it is affecting people’s health too. In fact, our findings have concluded that more than a third of Brits have avoided accessing healthcare over the past year in order to save money.

To determine how healthcare in the UK has been impacted by the cost of living crisis, here at Patient Claim Line, we have conducted our own research as well as collecting data from other trusted sources which will be included and referenced throughout this collection of statistics.

 

Avoiding healthcare services to save money

Due to the cost of living crisis, Brits’ budgets are becoming increasingly tighter and are potentially putting strains on people’s health.

We conducted a survey of 2,000 nationally representative Brits, which discovered that 36% of respondents claimed that they have avoided accessing healthcare over the last 12 months due to the associated costs.

Of those who have avoided healthcare to save money:

  • 69% avoided the dentist
  • 53% avoided the opticians
  • 32% decided not to purchase prescriptions
  • 21% said that travel costs were the reason they avoided healthcare
  • 15% claimed that they no longer use lateral flow tests since they stopped being available for free

According to our survey, of those who have avoided accessing healthcare due to financial strains, 78% have seen an impact on their health as a result.

Avoiding the dentist

According to recent research, nine in ten NHS dental practices are not accepting any new patients which is causing fears for Brits’ dental health. These fears are being made worse with almost 39% of people saying that they can no longer afford dental treatment.

Our survey found that of those who are avoiding accessing healthcare, it was those aged 65 and over who are avoiding the dentist the most, with 81% of participants in that age group claiming to have swerved a check-up to save money.

 

Prescriptions

Our survey found that a third of Brits who have avoided healthcare due to costs have avoided prescriptions specifically. This was most common amongst those aged 18 to 24, with half of this demographic admitting that they’ve cut back on prescriptions due to financial reasons.

Another poll found that 10% of people have stopped buying over the counter medication which they normally rely on and 10% of people have also avoided taking one or more NHS prescriptions because of the costs.

 

Asthma and lung conditions

Asthma is a common long-term disease that requires ongoing management. In the UK there have been 8 million people that have been diagnosed with Asthma which is over 12% of the population, and Asthma + Lung UK say that the soaring cost of living has caused life-threatening asthma attacks because people are having to cut back on medicines, heating and food.

In England, there are 2.3 million people with asthma that have to pay for their prescriptions and more than three quarters (76%) of these people say that they struggle to afford their prescriptions.

Asthma + Lunk UK have conducted a survey that has revealed that 90% of people that suffer from lung conditions have already made significant changes in their lives because of the cost of living crisis:

  • 15% of people are using their inhaler less to make it last longer
  • 5% of people say that they have borrowed medicines from other people and 6% of people said that they have not been getting their prescriptions
  • 63% of people are buying and eating less food, which can lower their immunity and put them at an increased risk of viruses that can trigger asthma attacks
  • 74% of people said that they are planning to heat their homes less and 45% are planning to turn their heating off altogether

49% of these people have confessed that their lung condition is worse due to the changes that they have been making. As a result of this, 20% of people have had an asthma attack or exacerbation, 19% have had to go and see their GP and 7% have had to receive emergency treatments.

 

Other factors that can affect your health

When it comes to healthcare, it is not just prescriptions and dentist visits that are affected by the cost of living crisis. There are many aspects that people are cutting down on due to the cost of living crisis that will affect their health.

55% of Brits feel as though their health has been negatively impacted because of the rising cost of living.

Of people that have reported their health is getting worse, 84% of people said that it was due to increased heating costs, 78% said it was due to the food costs rising and 46% said that it was due to the cost of transportation rising.

Another area that has been cut down because of the rising costs of living is socialising and 29% of people said that cutting down on this has affected their mental wellbeing, a further 7% of people said that they have had to stop their therapy.

Physical health has also been impacted, with 32% of people saying they now do less exercise because they have had to cancel their gym membership to help cut their costs.

 

Summary of statistics

From our research and the research that we have acquired from other trusted sources, we can see that the cost of living crisis is severely affecting people’s health due to the fact that Brits’ are avoiding healthcare services due to the costs that are associated with healthcare, such as prescriptions and trips to go and see healthcare professionals.

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