Private healthcare: what does it mean?
With the resources of the NHS being stretched to the limits and long delays for various treatments, many patients consider the option of private healthcare.
But what does "going private" really mean?
The biggest difference between private healthcare and the NHS is the speed at which you'll be seen and treated.
Consultations can be made at times that suit you and you have access to a wide choice of healthcare professionals and specialists.
People choose to go private for various reasons:
- Quicker access to treatment.
- More treatment options, some treatments are not available on the NHS.
- More control over when they see the consultant.
- A choice of where they would like to be treated.
- A choice of consultant or specialist.
Post-op recovery is usually more comfortable too, after a major operation you will be taken to a private room with few restrictions on visitations.
Some people are able to choose private because they participate in their employers' health insurance scheme.
There are various health insurance plans available that will help cover private health care, from family plans to limited or specialist cover.
If you do have health insurance, you will need to check with your insurer what is covered before starting any type of treatment, and then request a claims form.
It is important to note that most private health insurance policies usually don't cover pre-existing conditions, chronic illnesses or NHS services such as Accident & Emergency and ante-natal care.
Other conditions and treatments that may be excluded include:
- Normal pregnancy
- drug abuse
- HIV/AIDS treatment
- sex changes
- kidney dialysis
- experimental treatments and drugs
- organ transplants
Most health insurance companies and procedures will require a GP referral.