At Horder Healthcare we understand that waiting for surgery or treatment can be an anxious time for you and your family. With more people considering private healthcare, it's important that patients understand their options.
IHPN, with support from the Patient’s Association, has developed a range of resources to help patients navigate private healthcare. In this guide to private healthcare, you will be able to find answers to the most common questions:
What is private healthcare?
Private healthcare is available for anyone who chooses to pay for their treatment or who has healthcare insurance to cover the cost.
You can usually get treatment faster than in the NHS and you may be able to see doctors or have treatments that are not available via the NHS.
Private healthcare is provided by either an independent hospital or clinic, which is not part of the NHS.
How can I access private healthcare?
Most patients can get treatment from an independent hospital or clinic following a referral from their GP.
Independent hospitals or clinics will see patients without a referral, but they may still need to consult a patient’s GP before providing treatment.
You may not need a GP referral if you want to pay for a scan, diagnostic test or physiotherapy.
Can I mix and match NHS and private treatment?
Yes, you can access both private healthcare and the NHS. For example, if you pay for a diagnostic test, you can still receive any further care you need through the NHS, and vice versa.
Medical professionals in both the NHS and private healthcare sector should securely share information on your treatment to ensure safe, joined-up and co-ordinated patient care.
How do I choose a healthcare provider or doctor for my private treatment?
When paying for treatment, you can choose both your healthcare provider and doctor. Your GP may be able to make some recommendations.
You can also look at the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) website which provides information on all the different independent hospitals and consultants across the country.
The Care Quality Commission in England (CQC) inspects independent healthcare providers, just as it does NHS hospitals and clinics. You can search its website for its assessments of independent providers.
How do I pay for private treatment?
There are two ways to pay for private healthcare.
You can “self-pay” (or “pay as you go”) where you can either pay the total cost before receiving treatment or spread the cost of treatment over a number of months or years through payment schemes offered by many providers.
You can also use health insurance (also known as private medical insurance or PMI), which pays some or all your medical bills.
Many people have health insurance through their employer, so always check with them first to see if you are covered.
Health insurance policies vary significantly, so always check the terms and conditions of your policy to understand what yours covers.
How much does private healthcare cost?
Prices for private healthcare differ depending on where you live and which provider you use. Most independent providers offer fixed price packages that cover all the costs relating to your care including doctors’ fees and nursing, accommodation, and food costs.