The most commonly asked questions, answered
Do I need a referral from my GP?
- How to check out the hospital or clinic
- How to choose a private hospital or clinic
- Comparing private hospitals and healthcare providers
- Going private if you have health insurance
- Going private if you don’t have health insurance
- The practicalities of going private
- How to choose a private doctor
- How do I complain about private treatment?
- What kind of guarantee should I expect?
- What happens if something goes wrong?
- What to consider
- Why go private?
- Legal advice for patients
There are very few private GPs in the UK. So, when you decide to go private, whether you have private health insurance or not, your first step is normally to see your NHS GP. Your NHS GP will write the referral letter for your appointment with a private doctor or specialist.
Many private hospitals can arrange for you to have an appointment with a private GP in their outpatient department.
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Many private doctors, consultants and specialists are reluctant to see a patient unless there is a referral letter from the patient's GP. You can check with your preferred consultant’s private secretary to see if this is the case. Many private hospitals will arrange an appointment with one of their consultants, but communication with your GP will take place during your diagnosis and treatment.
GP referral letters are not normally required for physiotherapy, health screening, and cosmetic surgery and dentistry.
If you do not have a GP, your local private hospital may arrange for an appointment for you with a private GP in their outpatient department, if you wish. Or you can find a local private GP practice or clinic.
Once you have seen the GP, he/she will recommend an appropriate specialist. Or you can tell the GP which specialist you would like to see.