With increasing pressure on the overstretched NHS, it’s no surprise that going private for healthcare needs is becoming more and more popular in the UK, with a wider and more competitive range of insurance policies now available. In the UK, private healthcare is not generally used as an alternative to the NHS and most patients who have private medical insurance will use a combination of both systems to ensure that they get the best possible care. Even if your options are restricted by your medical insurance, you should still get a choice when it comes to where you are seen for consultations and subsequent treatments. So, how do you choose the best private hospital for you?
Where to Find Private Hospitals
Many people are aware of the private hospitals in their area, so it’s a good idea to do your research and find out more about them online. You can search the Care Quality Commission website, where you can find out more about the details on all facilities listed in a certain jurisdiction, including the name and contact information for all private hospitals, services they offer, specialty areas, and the results of their last inspection. You can also find out more by visiting the website of specific private healthcare providers such as Circle Health Group. Circle Health Group is one of the biggest private healthcare providers in the UK offering a network of hospitals and clinics providing a range of treatments.
One of the main questions to ask when choosing a private hospital is whether they offer the services that you need, or even better if they are a specialist in this area of treatment. When you are paying for private healthcare, it is often worth travelling further to get your treatment in a specialist hospital or unit rather than staying locally and going to a facility without as much experience or expertise. You should also check the facilities that are available in the event of an emergency. Many private hospitals do not have units for high dependency or intensive care. If you need this kind of care during your treatment, you will usually be sent to the nearest NHS hospital, so it’s a good idea to find out where that is and how far away from the private hospital it is.
How the hospital is rated by the CQC is another important factor to look out for before you make your choice. The CQC is an independent body that is responsible for overseeing a wide range of UK care providers. It regularly inspects facilities and publishes the results of these inspections online. Inspections include a range of important performance indicators including emergency transfers, emergency readmissions, hospital acquired infection rates, unexpected returns to theatre, and mortality rates. You can get an overview of a report or download a full report on a certain hospital online.
Pay a Visit
While there are lots of ways to research and learn more about a private hospital online, one of the best ways to find out if it is the right choice for you is to visit it yourself. After all, when you get private healthcare you are spending money on insurance or even covering the cost of the treatment yourself, so it pays to take the time to visit the hospital or clinic that you are considering to check out the facilities on offer and the level of service that they provide. Paying a visit gives you the chance to talk to staff and current patients and get a better feel for the facility to make sure that it is somewhere you are happy with.
Insurance and Payments
Before choosing a private hospital, it’s important to ensure that you are going to be covered by your health insurance policy should you choose to receive treatment there. Private medical insurance is the most affordable way to get private healthcare, but it is important to be aware that just because you have private medical insurance does not mean that you can use it at any private hospital in the country. You will usually be limited to the hospitals, clinics, and other treatment facilities that are on the insurer’s network.
You can find out which hospitals in your area are included by contacting your insurance company or checking your policy network. If you wish to receive private treatment from a facility that is not included in your insurance company’s network, then you should first contact the insurance company to discuss your options since the last thing that you want is to receive treatment that you cannot receive cover for and will be liable to pay the entire cost of it yourself.
With private healthcare becoming a more popular option in the UK, there are several factors to consider when it comes to finding the right private healthcare for you.