Soaring numbers of Scots are turning to private healthcare ‘out of desperation’ amid the crisis gripping the NHS.

A study has revealed an 80 per cent rise in people seeking treatment from the private sector as NHS waiting times soar.

Health think-tank the Nuffield Trust suggested people could be making the move ‘out of desperation as NHS provision flatlines’.

There have been increases across the UK but the biggest are in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The trust also found a rise in the number of people using private health insurance to get healthcare.

Hospital admissions through private health insurance are up across the UK, with the trust saying the increase could be because people and employers ‘expect difficulty in accessing care to continue’. Around one in seven Scots is on a waiting list for NHS treatment, including out-patient appointments, tests and inpatient surgery.

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