The State of Private Healthcare in the UK

Updated on October 11, 2019

Private health insurance is a necessity if you’re an expat living in the UK or a Brit planning on leaving the country. However, there are a number of British citizens seeking private health insurance because of gaps and problems with the National Health Service. 

Private Health Insurance and Private Healthcare 

Some use health insurance to pay for elective procedures they’d wait months or years for via NHS. For example, it lets them get a hip replacement done months sooner, and they can choose the date the surgery is done. In a worst case scenario, people have gone overseas to pay for private joint replacements and stay for as long as necessary in a private ward in a country where labor costs are far lower. 

You may be able to see the specialist of your choice, too, if insurance pays the fee for consulting with the NHS specialist after hours. The NHS requires them to get their 40 hours in but allows them to augment their salary by working longer than that. 

Others choose to get better quality care in private facilities. It is far more than having marble floors, fresh flowers and a private room when having surgery, though that is often reason enough to get private care. After all, who wants to share a four or six bed accommodation? 

Why Private Health Insurance Doesn’t Solve Everything 

Yet health insurance isn’t a cure-all. It typically doesn’t pay for normal pregnancy, and it never covers pre-existing conditions. Health insurance policies won’t pay for injuries that are your fault, whether they’re self-inflicted or because you were participating in dangerous sports. And health insurance rarely pays for cosmetic procedures and alternative therapies. The solution is to pay cash or arrange financing when you visit private healthcare providers. 

The Expanding Private Healthcare Providers 

Private health clinics have popped up to meet the demand of on-demand healthcare and greater level of service the public wants. Clinics like Broad gate General Practice achieve both in several ways. They offer same-day appointments for nearly every patient. They consolidate almost everything patients need in one facility. Now patients can be seen by a doctor and have diagnostic scans or blood tests done at the same place, typically in the same day as their appointment. This minimizes travel for the patient and how long they have to wait for answers. They can provide nearly every service patients need. This means a patient whose heartbeat is erratic could be screened with an ECG without waiting weeks to see an NHS specialist. 

Receive discrete and supportive care when being screened for a sexually transmitted disease or dealing with infertility. Be screened for cancer or given the HPV vaccine. Or have your weight and pre-diabetes monitored by a doctor who gives you more than five minutes for the physical exam. This reduces the odds that serious issues are dismissed as nothing and catches serious problems far sooner. For example, they can check your kidney function while testing for diabetes. You’ll also receive personalized advice and support whether you need to quit smoking or lose 20 kilos. This is a major improvement in healthcare for patients.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.