The NHS may have its critics, but considering the fact that it provides for most of the UK’s healthcare we really can’t afford to be too petulant about the system. Admittedly, it’s paid for by taxpayers and it has numerous shortfalls, but ask the average man or woman in the country if they’d rather be paying a monthly subscription for their healthcare and the answer is quite predictable.
Of course, for some people, private medical insurance is quite easily affordable and their situation allows them to take advantage of it. For the Average Joe’s out there, we’ll now take a look at just whether or not private medical examination clinics provide sufficient benefits for the insurance outlay to be worthwhile.
Get seen fast – but not always conveniently
One of the biggest grumbles about the NHS is the waiting times and there are cases of patients waiting months just for an appointment with a specialist consultant. This is one of the main reasons why individuals turn to private health care as in general, you can be seen in the space of a week or so. Additionally, if you are desperate for that non-emergency surgery, rather than by plonked at the bottom of a public waiting list you can be seen almost immediately.
However, most people also forget that there can be drawbacks. A lot of doctors that work in the private sector are NHS doctors during the day – meaning that you must timetable an appointment in accordance with their schedule. A lot of the time, this means travelling to private clinics on an evening or other unsociable time.
Stay in hotel-like surroundings
It goes without saying that the quality of the wards and general facilities at private clinics is second to none. They really can be likened to hotels and unlike standard NHS rooms, privacy is not an issue and you will be provided your own room. If you are about to recover from major surgery, this is perhaps the time where you will really appreciate shelling out that monthly premium.
The very best medical attention
The standard of doctors in the country is overall very good and you will actually be seen by one that is probably also practicing on the NHS. However, the main advantage in this regard is that you will most likely continually see this professional – rather than being shifted around from consultant to consultant. Many patients bemoan the lack of continuity within treatment yet by paying the premiums, you will see the same doctor on practically every occasion.
Don’t expect everything to be covered
However, while the above benefits do appear tempting, you must be exceptionally careful when considering whether to go down the private route. For a start, there are a huge number of policies out there and very few cover all conditions. The majority happen to only cover short-term issues or sudden injuries so before you do anything, do the research and make sure you can afford to obtain a policy that will satisfy your needs.
Be prepared to fork out considerable fees
On a similar note to above, be prepared to pay hefty premiums. Unsurprisingly, prices are rising and the last survey suggested that they are increasing at a scandalous 10% per year. If you are looking to cover absolutely everything, this is going to be a significant financial outlay and you must decide, based on the advantages we’ve discussed previously, if private medical clinics are worthwhile for your circumstances.