Bupa is offering patients "pay-as-you-go" operations to boost business after the double impact of poorer Britons and rising healthcare costs cut UK profits at the private medical giant by one-fifth to £109.7m last year.
Stuart Fletcher, its chief executive, said Bupa started in August offering patients treatment packages such as hip replacements plus all the consultations and physiotherapy that went with them for a fixed fee. A private hip replacement costs £10,505, a hysterectomy £5,300 or cataract surgery £2,505 per eye, including all consultations, surgery, time in hospital and aftercare. Bupa says Britons spend £650m a year on medical treatments without insurance.
"The UK is a pretty challenging marketplace – it's the impact of low consumer confidence and the continuing rise in healthcare costs, so we've introduced new products," Mr Fletcher said. "But we still made a profit in the UK." Bupa, which now gets 70 per cent of revenues from overseas, with major businesses in Spain and Australia, saw underlying pre-tax profits up 8 per cent to £604m.