Comparing NHS and Private Healthcare
Wondering whether to opt for NHS or private healthcare? At Freedom Health Insurance we are passionate about patient choice and want to help people better understand the differences between the NHS and private healthcare.
Since its launch in 1948, the National Health Service (NHS) has grown to become one of the world’s largest publicly funded health services and its quality of care is recognised internationally. Nevertheless, because of the increasing pressure on the NHS and the difficulties it has experienced in recent years, many people have shifted towards private medical treatment, very often using private health insurance to cover their costs. As a result, according to the research organisation Laing Buisson, the UK’s private healthcare market has grown to over £6.3bn in 2017.
NHS vs Private Healthcare Waiting Times
Whenever you are looking for medical advice or need to seek treatment for a medical condition, you usually book an appointment with your NHS GP. Depending on the number of people registered with the same GP practice, this can take up to two weeks or even longer.
Wait times vary by speciality and region, and whilst the Government set targets to shorten these, the system still struggles to cope, especially for routine procedures such as hip replacements. However, in most cases, the NHS usually provides timely and world-class interventions for life critical issues such as cardiac bypasses.
With most private health insurance plans, you can now access a virtual GP and some even give you the option to choose a private GP. This means that you could be seen faster and get your treatment underway more promptly, allowing you to get the medical treatment you need, when you need it.
Comfort in the NHS vs Private Healthcare
The quality of medical treatment itself should be the same for both NHS and private healthcare, however private healthcare facilities can be more comfortable and modern. While undergoing private treatment you are likely to have hotel-like facilities and services which may include private accommodation, ensuite bathroom, TV and a greater choice of food. You will usually benefit from non-restricted visiting hours and you are more likely to be seen by the same consultant.
In comparison, on the NHS, you may find yourself in a mixed ward, with shared bathroom and limited visiting hours and you may be seen by a member of the consultant’s team rather than the consultant themselves.
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