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Private Health in NHS Hospitals

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 25 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Nhs Healthcare Insurance Medical

Most people assume that if they are a private patient they will be treated in a private hospital but in fact some private work is carried out in the NHS setting.

Why Might Private Patients Be Treated In An NHS Hospital?

There are many reasons why someone may receive their treatment and care in the NHS setting.Your consultant specialist may decide that the facilities in the NHS hospital are more suited to your needs than those offered by the private hospitals in your area. This is particularly true if you are having a very specialised operation or pioneering treatment.

It might also be considered if you are having a very lengthy procedure that is likely to necessitate a short stay in the intensive care/therapy unit. Although some private hospitals do have adequate intensive therapy units, often the specialised care will be more frequently found in an NHS hospital.

Although it is rare, occasionally if there are complications following surgery in a private hospital the patient may need transferring to an NHS hospital for further treatment. In this instance the NHS will normally incur the additional costs as this is the right of the patient and private health insurance or treatment does not automatically exclude them from receiving NHS care.

This is also the same for those who are brought to hospital in an emergency situation. They are treated as an NHS patient in an NHS setting with no consequences to insurance or payments.

Are Private & NHS Patients Treated Differently?

The short answer to this is no. All professional healthcare staff known that the care they provide for their patients whether they are private or NHS is no different. Private healthcare does not mean you get preferential treatment from staff but that the setting is more luxurious and private and the waiting times are usually a lot shorter.

Often when private patients are treated in the NHS setting the staff will work on an over-time basis often coming in on their days off so that private work does not infringe on the NHS patients.

What Happens With My Insurance If I Am Treated In An NHS Hospital?

As would happen in a private hospital, your insurance will pay for the care you receive. The NHS hospital will calculate how much your treatment is likely to cost (or actually does cost) and inform your insurer.The costs for equipment, staff, theatre time and any after care will all be added up to make a grand total that will be passed on to your insurance provider.

Fertility Treatments

Although it is possible to receive all of your fertility treatment in a private clinic or hospital, some patients will continue to receive their care at an NHS hospital. This may be because they are familiar with the staff, they are confident with the success rates of the unit, there is no provision in other clinical areas in the region or perhaps for continuity of care from previous attempts, they are happy to continue with the team that they know will do their best for them and also have a full set of medical notes from which to base the treatment.

Private patients do not necessarily have to be treated in a private hospital or clinic as many are seen in the NHS. This does have both advantages and disadvantages and the patient and consultant should discuss the reasons why they may need their care provided in an NHS hospital and both be happy with this decision.

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