The practicalities of going private

If your GP tells you that you need to see a consultant and you would prefer to go privately, or if after seeing an NHS consultant you decide you would like to see a private specialist for a second opinion, take your NHS test results, details and information with you so that you won't have to repeat expensive scans or x-rays. Ask for these from your GP.

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When attending the consultation at the hospital or clinic, self paying patients should go prepared to pay the consultation fee on the day. Insured patients should take their registration documents and completed claim form/proof of pre-authorisation by the medical insurer.  The consultation process establishes whether you are a good candidate for the operation(s), and is a good opportunity for you to learn about anything the surgeon requires you to do beforehand; for example, lose weight or take certain vitamins to help the recovery process.

You should avoid drinking alcohol and cut back on smoking in the days leading up to your hospital stay and follow fasting instructions before a general anaesthetic.  You should inform the hospital if you have a cold/flu or feel unwell beforehand as the operation may need to be rescheduled. 

Check with friends or family and make the necessary arrangements for someone to drop you off and take you home after the procedure.  Depending on your circumstances, you may want to ask if someone can stay with you for a few days afterwards.  If you are staying overnight in the hospital (or longer) you will need to take a few things with you such as sleep wear, slippers and dressing gown, and comfortable day clothing. 

Pack any toiletries, books or personal items as well as any medications and hand these to the nurse in charge when you arrive.  It is best to leave valuable jewellery, large sums of money or electronic equipment at home.  Don’t forget to tell the nurse in charge about any special dietary requests and any allergies you have. 

It is important that you ask the following questions before going into hospital:

  • What can you expect after the operation?
  • What complications could there be and what is the likelihood of complications for this operation?
  • How much pain is it normal to expect after the operation?  How long will the pain last?
  • How long will you be in hospital for?
  • When can you have visitors?
  • What help will you need after the operation? And for how long?
  • When will you be able to go home, and how long before you can return to work?
  • What restrictions will there be on your normal activities after the operation?  For example, driving/climbing stairs/running/playing sport/having sex/having a bath/shower?
  • When will you need to come back for a follow up appointment?


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