The most commonly asked questions, answered
Why go private?
- 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?
- What to consider
- Legal advice for patients
There are many reasons to choose private medical treatment, from avoiding lengthy NHS waiting lists, to not being satisfied with treatment on the NHS or wanting a second opinion. The resources of the NHS continue to be stretched despite significant government investment, and there can still be delays before NHS treatment is available.
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Going private gives you:
- Fast access to treatment.
- A choice of when you want to be treated.
- A choice of where to be treated.
- A choice of consultant or private specialist
- Sometimes, the option to have treatment(s) which may not be available on the NHS.
Private treatment can usually be carried out quickly. Consultations and appointments take place at times that suit you and recovery from a major operation takes place in a comfortable private en-suite room where friends and family can visit with few restrictions.
Many people have private healthcare because their employer offers private health insurance as a workplace perk, but you don't need to have medical insurance to get private treatment. You can simply pay directly for your private treatment; this is known as 'self-paying' and a number of companies offer fixed price surgery schemes or loans for private surgery exactly for this purpose, which makes private treatment a possibility for all.
The private healthcare sector and the NHS may be separate, but they work closely together, with the government’s support. In some cases, your primary care trust may have contracted with a local private hospital to provide treatment for NHS patients.