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What to Expect in a Private Hospital

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 25 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Hospital Doctor Surgery Medical

One of the main reasons for wanting to choose private healthcare is to shorten the length of time until treatment but there are also many other factors that could influence a person’s decision including the environment within the hospital setting.

How Do Private Hospitals Differ From NHS Hospitals?

It is no secret that the hospital setting is usually different in the private sector. There are many reasons for this and may include the cleanliness of the building, the size of the hospital and the fact that most patients will have their own individual room when staying overnight.

As private hospitals are on the whole a lot newer than those in the NHS, it is easy to understand why they might appear to be cleaner and more modern. Being smaller in size means they are easier to keep clean and as there is a lower throughput of patients, it is often easier to maintain and manage and are not subjected to the wear and tear of seeing thousands of patients each year.

When patients are due to be treated in a private hospital they can expect a first class service from staff, a warm and friendly environment and also the privacy of their own room.Although this may appear to be the best option, many may be concerned whether they will be able to converse as much with the staff and other patients or may find that they would have preferred the atmosphere of a traditional ward seen in most NHS hospitals.These reasons may all influence the person’s decision as to where they would most like to receive their treatment.

What About The Staff?

The treatment received from staff should not vary between the private sector and the NHS. Doctors, nurses and other professionals are not permitted morally or professionally to treat the patients any differently, and patients can be assured that the skills and training the staff have gained are equal between both settings.

It is purely the waiting times and setting that vary and staffing concerns should not become an issue.Medical and nursing practices, including the types of surgery (unless cosmetic) do not vary unless the availability of equipment is different in which case there may be some variations in this area but this can occur within the NHS also.

Each hospital will purchase the equipment it needs to perform the task as necessary, although occasionally the scanning techniques or medications available might vary slightly.

Some of the main differences also include training facilities included in the hospital. Private hospitals do not offer medical training like many NHS hospitals so the chances of seeing medical students are small however, there are some amounts of nurses and other agencies that do allow students to learn in the private sector so patients may see these groups within the private setting.

Other expectations can be that the private hospitals are often a lot more flexible with waiting times, the choice of meals is often better and more varied and there is usually access to a private telephone, television and bathroom or shower.Often these facts alone can influence the person’s choice over where to have their treatment.

Of course it may be possible that a private patient is treated in an NHS hospital because of the availability of treatments so these facts do not count and although the speed of access to treatment might be quicker, the patient may be seen in the NHS setting.

Although there are many differences between NHS and private hospitals, the care received from staff should not be any different and patients should not allow themselves to be persuaded into private care because of this. The other influencing issues however can be taken into account and a decision based on these factors alone.

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