In the UK, the nation is supported by an excellent healthcare service, the NHS, however due to a rapidly growing population and increasing medical tourism, the national health service often finds itself overwhelmed and overfunded. For instance, recent reports have suggested that the average wait time in emergency rooms up and down the country is exceeding the current standard to have patients wait no more than four hours before being seen. Not to mention the extended wait time for receiving test results.
There are plenty of ways this could be improved, but they involve external influences outside of a patient’s control, such as increased budget and higher employment.
The factors that do fall under a patient’s control are limited but can make all the difference to the patient’s healthcare experience. Reducing the amount of time waiting for test results and ensuring they see the same doctors and specialists, rather than a rotating team of faces. To gain more control over their healthcare, patients can look at private healthcare and seeking healthcare insurance that provides access to private healthcare facilities.
While a patient may not wish to undertake all their diagnostics and treatment via private healthcare facilities, either due to budget limitations or a preference for a certain NHS doctor/GP, they may wish to seek private treatment when experiencing the following;
Cancer treatment via the NHS is an incredible service with patients being seen, diagnosed and treated within a reasonable timeframe. However, patients can often feel like they are seeing a constantly changing care team, often not seeing a familiar face for weeks at a time due to working shift patterns and when the patient can access treatment. In addition to much stricter budgets that may reduce the treatment options, making it harder for patients to receive advanced and up-to-date cancer treatment such as Proton Beam Therapy and Immunotherapy.
By investing in private cancer care treatment, patients are often introduced to their dedicated supportive care team while being provided access to additional supportive therapies that can make receiving cancer treatment easier to cope with and reduce the severity of certain side effects.
The waitlists for physiotherapy on the NHS are long, with some patients waiting up to 12 weeks before being pushed back down the list. For this reason, many people choose to seek private physiotherapy treatment to treat issues with their joints, bones, ligaments and nerves. Many physiotherapy treatment centres also allow patients to self-refer, without having to see their GP which makes the process much shorter and easier for the patient, who is likely experiencing pain, reduced mobility and wanting to be seen as soon as possible for relief.
Private physiotherapy plans are built bespoke to the patient’s needs and appointments can be arranged within 48 hours with access to advanced therapy equipment that may not be affordable or available to public healthcare services.
Sometimes patients require surgery for conditions such as repairing hernias, to treat appendicitis or anti-reflux surgery. These conditions aren’t life-threatening but can certainly impact day to day comfort and reduce mobility for many patients. NHS wait times for these types of procedures, known as elective surgeries can be much longer than necessary, life-saving treatments, as expected. But for the patient, this can be months of functioning on a limited day, it might prevent them working full-time and impact their ability to support their family.
Choosing to seek these treatments via private healthcare will drastically reduce the waiting time of the patient and ensure they have a comfortable experience throughout, providing private recovery rooms and access to additional therapies where needed.
The freedom of healthcare in the UK doesn’t mean patient health services need to be an either/or situation and patients can pick and choose which services they undertake privately and which they can comfortably wait for through public healthcare.
When looking at your private healthcare options, make sure to look at the costs of individual appointments and take to private healthcare providers to better understand ongoing costs and how these can be supported by private healthcare insurance. Your healthcare is your choice which is the greatest benefit of both public and private treatments, to take control over your treatment options.
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