Why use private medicine?
The main benefit of private medicine is that it is delivered on your terms; you choose who, where, and when. You will be seen by the same doctor throughout your treatment enabling you to build up a more personal relationship, improving trust, and ensuring smooth handling of your case from start to finish.
Another advantage is the absence of long waiting lists. While the NHS is under severe pressure from the volume of patients it must serve, private hospitals and clinics can offer a consultation, investigation, and surgery within days – as opposed to weeks, months, and in some cases, years.
Importantly, private hospitals have the right facilities and back up. It is not all about the standard of food or accommodation (although this helps).
Selecting the right provider
The private medicine sector includes hospitals that are part of large hospital groups, such as BMI Healthcare, BUPA Hospitals, Capio, and Nuffield Hospitals. It also covers small independent and charitable hospitals, private patient units within NHS Trust hospitals and clinics that specialise in services such as cosmetic surgery and laser eye treatment.
Ultimately you need to choose the best provider, hospital, and surgeon that fits your needs. Make sure the hospital you go with follows an external complaints procedures code and has been accredited by an external organisation for the quality of its services and procedures.
If you have private medical insurance be sure the hospital you’re interested in is approved by the insurance company. Alternatively, if you’re self-funding, ensure the hospital offers fixed price packages (most do, but not all). If there is no fixed price package, compare the daily room rates, consultant fees, and procedural expenses with other hospitals. Also find out if you have a private room or will be sharing with another patient.
It is critical to find out about the hospital’s length of stay policy, what happens if there are complications and further surgery is needed, and who will pay for those additional costs.