That’s according to equity release adviser 55Plus, which said it had seen a rise in enquiries from people looking to raise the money to cover the cost of private surgery as a direct result of the waiting lists for the treatment on the NHS.
The firm noted that procedures like knee and hip replacements may be classed as non-urgent, but can lead to a loss of income or even the risk of unemployment, particularly for those who work for themselves.
55Plus obtained figures from LV=, which suggested that medical treatment was a spur for two per cent of the money released through equity release plans in the first three months of the year. That’s compared with just 0.3 per cent for the same period last year.
Jan Johnson, founder and director of 55Plus, said that with the NHS “in crisis”, with strikes being held by doctors and nurses, and waiting lists growing ever longer, more people were opting to take control of where and when they have medical procedures.
Johnson added: “Many over 55s, who are more prone to having non-urgent emergency procedures, are sometimes not aware of equity release as an option. It has proven to be a valuable solution to painful and financially stressful situations.”
Last week, the Equity Release Council revealed that the first quarter of the year had been the quietest since the first Covid lockdown, which it blamed on higher product rates.
The use of voluntary repayments has also increased substantially since they were made a universal feature of equity release plans last year.