We’re very lucky in the UK to have access to NHS healthcare. Yes, most of us contribute towards it in tax, and we pay for prescriptions and dental care, but even then, the costs are much cheaper than in other areas around the world. Most families rely on NHS GPs and hospitals for healthcare, without worrying about things like health insurance. But more and more people who can afford it are considering private healthcare, either looking for insurance or other payment options to help them to cover the costs. But why? What are the benefits of private healthcare, and why might it be a great idea for your family, as long as you can afford it? Here are eight of the benefits that are worth considering.
Fast Access to Healthcare
Waiting times for healthcare services are growing all of the time. It’s hard enough to get a GP appointment, and then you often spend weeks, if not months waiting if you need to be referred to a specialist service. For most families, fast access to the healthcare that they need is the main benefit of private providers. You can usually get seen within a day or two, and referrals can be much faster. There are many examples of people wanting timely answers about their or a family member’s health condition. For instance, your child may be having a speech delay and you consult a private pediatric audiologist to confirm the status of their hearing before reaching out to a speech and language therapist.
Wider Range of Treatment Options
When you have access to private healthcare, you also have access to a wide range of treatment options, as well as treatments for conditions that may not be treated freely by an NHS doctor. Visit a private clinic and you’ll have more options, but also more choice, and more of a role in devising your treatment plan. This feeling of control over your own health and treatments can ease anxiety and stress, and help you to feel on top of things even when you are ill. This can be especially useful if you are worried about your children’s health.
The Latest Medicines and Diagnostic Tests
Private healthcare also gives you access to the very latest tests and medicines, which could mean detecting a problem sooner, and perhaps receiving more effective treatment.
Private healthcare might not actually be as expensive as you might think, depending on your specific needs and any offers available. Circle Health Group offer private hospital care, with affordable payment options. Pay with insurance, a payment plan, or upfront for popular treatments and symptom investigation. If you are interested in private healthcare, search ‘private hospital near me’ to find the best options for your budget and needs.
Convenient Appointment Times
Another big plus for busy families is the availability of convenient appointment times. Working parents often have trouble finding time to attend appointments at a 9-5 surgery, and schools typically frown upon students taking time out to attend non-essential appointments. But few GPs works after 5 pm or over the weekend.
Private practices typically offer a larger selection of appointment times, with availability in the evenings and on weekend days, which can make it much easier for busy families. Private practices usually also offer virtual appointments, using video and telephone consultations for the convenience of their patients.
In NHS hospitals you’ll usually have to share a ward with multiple other people. This can be noisy and distracting, which isn’t what you need when you are trying to recover from an illness or treatment.
When you are treated by a private provider, you’ll usually have the option of staying in a private room, both before and after your treatment, or while you are having tests. This can make your stay far more comfortable and decrease the amount of time that it takes for you to recover. It also means that you’ll be allowed more visitors, without being very limited to small visiting windows.
Low Risk of Infections
All healthcare providers in the UK now have meticulous cleaning practices, and so the risks of catching an infection in any hospital are very low. However, this risk is further reduced if you are in a private room, at a private hospital, where outside cleaning companies have been contracted in.
Most NHS GP appointments are limited to five minutes. That gives you five minutes to explain your symptoms, be examined, receive a diagnosis and treatment options, and have any questions answered. Most of us leave the surgery with more questions than we went in with and seek answers and understanding from Doctor Google, which is almost always a mistake.
This has been made even worse by the pandemic. Most of us have been collecting minor concerns for two years, not wanting to visit our doctors. We need a lot longer than five minutes to talk about them all, but doctors are busier and more pushed for time than ever.
Private appointments are much longer, and your healthcare provider will be able to take their time explaining, talking through your options, and answering your questions.
Private healthcare isn’t for everyone. But if you want a wide range of options, flexibility and the chance to get the latest treatments and medicines, it’s worth considering to keep you and your family fit and healthy.