In the U.S., where many patients don’t have access to adequate healthcare, crowdfunding campaigns on platforms like GoFundMe are common for people with disabilities, terminal or chronic illnesses, unexpected medical complications from recent surgeries, and injuries.
In the U.K., crowdfunding campaigns are less common. But in the wake of recent complaints about problems with the NHS, like long wait times and lack of adequate coverage, more Britons than ever are turning to GoFundMe campaigns to meet their medical needs.
NHS and GoFundMe Campaigns
In the U.K., evidence-based therapies for most conditions are covered through the NHS. Despite access to universal healthcare, many people with terminal illnesses say they can’t find the experimental therapies and clinical trials they need.
People with chronic illnesses and ongoing disabilities often say they have to navigate red tape or wait a long time for appointments, and that it’s difficult to get the specialty care they need.
Trans and nonbinary patients also sometimes raise money for top surgery or other related surgeries and treatments through crowdfunding campaigns.
In fact, crowdfunding campaigns in the U.K. have raised £8 million for cancer patients specifically in recent years. Many of these treatments are experimental or on the cutting edge of new therapies–something the NHS doesn’t always cover.
In the past year alone, patients in the U.K. have raised £20 million for various treatments, surgeries, and forms of specialist care.
Examples of Successful Healthcare Crowdfunding Campaigns
The problem with crowdfunding campaigns for healthcare is that they take a lot of time and energy for both the patient and the family.
To reach their goals, families and patients alike have to spend time and money for marketing purposes. Many campaigns never reach their goals.
However, some GoFundMe campaigns for U.K. healthcare needs are successful. For example, Bristol cancer patient Mike Brandon raised over £450,000 in 2014 for experimental treatments. He’s now in remission.
The family of then-infant Charlie Gard, supported by the trending hashtag #charliesarmy, was also successful in their crowdfunding campaign.
They used GoFundMe to raise almost £1.4 million for treatments and medical bills related to his rare, severe genetic disorder.