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1 in 5 paying for Private Healthcare work in the building trade

“It wasn’t an option to ignore my knee pain, but I couldn’t afford not to work!”

Being physically fit and able to work is vital to the livelihoods of the 783,000* self-employed construction workers in the UK. But what happens when you need medical treatment, or are unable to work due to joint pain? With NHS waiting lists for non-emergency surgery ever-growing, it’s little wonder that many trade-workers are turning to private healthcare.

Research from leading healthcare provider, Practice Plus Group, reveals that 1 in 5 people paying for private healthcare in the UK last year were manual trade-workers – including bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers and builders.  With 10 hospitals and surgical centres around the UK, the company, which provides support to the NHS as well as a self-pay option, Wellsoon, has also noticed seasonal spikes from tradespeople suffering with joint and hernia pains who want to be able to schedule appointments away from traditionally busy building months. Remaining on a waiting list is impossible for many, as they can’t simply down tools when a space becomes available.

This was certainly the case for Ollie Dix, 41, an independent renovation and construction worker from Bath. Struggling with persistent knee pain from his physically demanding job, Ollie decided to take action and chose to by-pass the 12-month NHS waiting list offered.

“Doing nothing about the pain wasn’t an option,” says Ollie. “Caused by an old rugby injury and my physically demanding work, the pain was becoming worse by the day.  My job relies on me being agile and able to lift heavy loads and get down on the floor. I was told I might have to wait over a year for an MRI scan just to assess my knee, with no timeframe for accessing any kind of fix. I was getting to the point where I was going to have to turn down work, which I couldn’t afford to do.

“I decided to seek a private consultation with Wellsoon from Practice Plus Group, and requested an evening appointment after work. This was another plus for me as I didn’t have to drop everything to fit around an NHS appointment with no flexibility. I was seen quickly at Practice Plus Group’s Emersons Green Hospital, Bristol, and referred for an MRI scan. They diagnosed me with knee tendonitis and booked me in to see a physio, who gave me strengthening exercises to do. Fortunately getting assessed quickly meant that my knee didn’t get any worse, or need surgery. I’m now pain-free at the end of a busy day and worry-free about the future!”

For more information about surgery with Practice Plus Group visit