Independent advice on private healthcare
What to consider
- How to check out the hospital or clinic
- How to choose a private hospital or clinic
- Comparing private hospitals and healthcare providers
- Do I need a referral from my GP?
- 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?
- Why go private?
What to consider
Find out as much as possible about the operation that you need and compare services, treatments, costs and credentials of the private hospitals and clinics that provide your surgery or treatment.
Self paying patients
For self paying patients (those without private health insurance, or when private health insurance won’t cover the procedure/treatment), one of the first things to consider is the cost of the operation or treatment. Many inclusive surgery packages cover the hospital charges for the operation and the hospital stay, the consultant’s fees for the operation and a follow-up consultation, but get these points clarified in advance; sometimes the initial consultation is excluded, which typically costs between £150 and £250. Typical prices for private operations are available on Private Healthcare UK.
Contact the hospital’s patient services/customer services department if there is anything you are not sure about. One of the main points to check is the refund policy in case you change your mind (particularly with cosmetic surgery) or if a pre-existing medical condition causes the surgery to be cancelled. The quotation is usually valid for a period of time to give you time to decide or investigate other options.
Self paying patients should consider how to finance the operation. Will you need a loan, or does the private hospital offer a payment plan? Some hospitals allow customers to spread the cost in monthly instalments; so find out what is available to you.
Private health insurance patients should check with their health insurance company who have detailed schedules in place for all common procedures and will be able to tell you what is covered by your scheme, and if there are extra charges that you will have to pay. Any discrepancies between the information from your insurer and the hospital should be clarified before treatment commences.
Planning the operation
Decide when and where you want to have the operation. Your consultant will have his preferences hospitals, but it’s your final decision. Enquire about availability (the length of wait for your appointment may depend on how busy the consultant is, and locate the best hospital for your needs. Some have specialist services for particular types of surgery. You will need to consider how much time you can take away from work/family commitments, how long you will be hospitalised, as well as the recovery time and success rate for your operation, and any potential complications. Try to be as flexible with your schedule as you can as you may have to stay longer if a complication does occur. Raise these issues at the consultation.
Guide to going private
- What is best for you
- Practical advice
- Payment methods