The NHS is a much-loved institution, but sadly it is far from perfect. Due to chronic government neglect, the NHS is often underfunded and oversubscribed, which can lead to long waiting lists and a lack of treatment options. When it comes to private vs NHS treatment, if you are able to pay a little extra money, it is often worth going private because you will be able to save time and are guaranteed a more personalised experience.
In this article, we'll compare NHS and private treatment in a range of important areas so that you can make an informed decision about what's best for you.
What is NHS Treatment?
The NHS is the UK's public healthcare system. It was established in 1948 and is funded by the government. NHS treatment is free at the point of use for all UK citizens and permanent residents, regardless of income or nationality. The NHS offers a wide range of services, including general medical care, maternity care, mental health services, and dental care.
What is Private Treatment?
Private treatment usually refers to treatment that is not covered by the NHS. This can include elective procedures like cosmetic surgery, private dental care, and fertility treatment as well as all the necessary treatments that are provided by the NHS. Private treatment can be expensive, but there are a range of payment options available, including health insurance, medical loans, and payment plans which can make it more affordable.
NHS VS Private Treatment: A Breakdown
To compare services available through the NHS and private medical providers, it is best to consider the most important aspects of treatment. These include:
Standards of Care
Standards of care are obviously very important and both the NHS and private hospitals and clinics are held to high standards. This means that you can be assured that you will receive a high level of care in either setting.
One major difference, however, is that private hospitals do have the advantage of having fewer patients which means they are usually less overcrowded than NHS hospitals. This can result in a more personalised treatment experience because the staff will be able to give you more attention. Particularly when you have undergone a serious procedure or surgery, this extra attention can be invaluable.
Medical Providers' Qualifications
All medical providers in the UK, both private and NHS, must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). This guarantees that all providers meet a set of standards and are qualified to provide care.
One potential perk of private treatment is that many of the doctors and nurses at private hospitals will also have additional qualifications in their particular field of practice. This means that as long as you do your research properly, you can be confident that you're receiving treatment from the best in the business.
Both the NHS and private healthcare sector have world-class facilities. However, there are a few important differences to consider. Firstly, NHS budget limitations mean that the facilities are designed for general use and may not be as up-to-date or luxurious as those found in private hospitals.
Secondly, you are more likely to get a room to yourself in a private hospital (as long as you pay for it) than you are in an NHS hospital. This can be a major benefit because it can make your stay in hospital more comfortable which can help you recover more quickly. However, it is important to note that staying in a private hospital for a significant length of time can be very costly.
One of the biggest disadvantages of NHS treatment is the fact that waiting lists are often very long. This is because the NHS is sadly underfunded and oversubscribed, meaning that patients often have to wait longer for treatment. As a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic, these waiting lists have got even longer than usual with some procedures now having waiting times of up to two years.
In contrast, private hospitals do not have waiting lists because patients are able to book appointments as soon as they need them. This can be a major advantage if you're in pain or feel like your health is deteriorating rapidly. Every stage of treatment from diagnosis to aftercare is usually much quicker in the private sector which means you can get back to your life sooner.
Types of Treatments Available
One of the main benefits of private treatment is that it offers a much wider range of treatments than is available through the NHS, including more specialised procedures and surgeries. This is mainly because cutting edge treatments are usually more expensive so the NHS cannot afford to offer them to everyone.
For example, if you need a hip replacement then the NHS will likely only offer you one type of surgery that might not be the best for you. However, private hospitals usually have a range of different procedures available so you can choose the one that is most suited to your needs. This also includes a wider range of medications and tests which can be extremely beneficial if you have a rare or complex illness. Many cancer medications, for example, are only available through the private sector.
The biggest downside of private treatment is that it can be very expensive. This means that it is not an option for many people who are on a tight budget. In contrast, NHS treatment is free (although you may have to pay for some prescriptions).
However, it's important to remember that with these extra costs comes all the advantages explained above. While not everyone is in the position to go private for 100% of their medical needs, it can be a great option for those who are able to afford it or just have one particular issue they want to treat privately.
Facetime with Doctors
Another major advantage of private treatment is the fact that you get to see your doctor more often. This means that you can get more personalised care and discuss your treatment plan in greater detail. It's also a great opportunity to ask any questions you might have about your health. Private hospitals often have state-of-the-art medical technology which allows doctors to get a better understanding of your condition and how they can best treat it.
One of the most important aspects of any type of healthcare is patient aftercare. This refers to the care and support that patients receive once they have finished their treatment. Private hospitals are usually much better at providing this than NHS hospitals.
This can be because private hospitals often have their own team of nurses and therapists who can provide you with support long after you have left the hospital. They can also help you to adjust back to your normal life and answer any questions that you might have about your health.
Pros and Cons Breakdown
So, to sum up, here are the pros and cons of both types of treatment available:
Pros of NHS Treatment
- It's free at the point of use
- It is available to everyone
- The standard of care is very high
Cons of NHS Treatment
- There is sometimes a limited range of treatments available
- You may have to wait for a long time to receive treatment
- The quality of care can vary depending on your location
Pros of Private Treatment
- You can get treated more quickly
- There is often a wider range of treatments available
- The quality of care is usually very high
Cons of Private Treatment
- It can be expensive
- You may not be able to get 100% of your treatment privately
How to Choose a Private Healthcare Provider
Now that you know a bit more about the benefits of each type of treatment, it's time to start thinking about choosing a private healthcare provider. This can be a daunting task as there are so many different providers out there. However, by following these simple steps, you should be able to find the right one for you:
Step One: Decide what you need
The first step is to decide what you need. Do you just want to go private for one specific treatment, or are you looking for a complete healthcare package? If it's the former, then you can simply choose a provider that offers the treatment you need. However, if you're looking for a complete package then you'll need to do some more research until you find the right provider.
Step Two: Compare different providers
Once you've decided what you need, the next step is to compare different providers. This can be done by looking at reviews online or by asking friends and family for their recommendations. It's important to make sure that you compare apples with apples – in other words, make sure that you're comparing providers that offer the same type of service. One useful resource for comparing different providers are CQC ratings which are given by the Care Quality Commission and judge private healthcare services based on a number of factors such as safety, effectiveness, care and leadership.
Step Three: Decide what's important to you
Now that you've narrowed down your options, it's time to start thinking about what's important to you. For example, do you want a provider with excellent facilities? Or one that has a good reputation? Maybe you're more interested in the cost of treatment. Whatever it is, make sure to jot it down as this will help you when making your final decision.
Step Four: Contact the providers
Once you've decided on a few providers, the next step is to contact them and ask for more information. This is where you can ask any questions that you might have about their services. It's also a good opportunity to get a feel for the provider and see if they're the right one for you.
Step Five: Make your decision
Finally, it's time to make your decision. This should be based on what's important to you, as well as your budget. Remember, you don't have to choose the first provider that you come across – take your time and make sure you find the right one for you.
Why is the NHS Underfunded and Oversubscribed?
There are a number of reasons why the NHS is underfunded and oversubscribed. First of all, the NHS is free at the point of use, which means that everyone can access it. This puts a lot of strain on the system, as there are always more people wanting treatment than there are resources available.
Second, the NHS has financial limitations because it's funded through taxpayers' money based on the government's budgeting. This means that the government is responsible for ensuring that it's funded so it is privy to political and economic fluctuations.
Third, the NHS the demand for services is constantly increasing. This is due to a number of factors, including population growth, an ageing population, and advances in medical technology.
As you can see, when it comes to private vs NHS treatment, there are a number of factors you will need to consider including your budget and what's important to you. The NHS is an excellent option for those who want quality care at a low cost but it has significant issues in terms of funding and oversubscription. Private treatment, on the other hand, is a great choice if you are looking for excellent facilities, short waiting times and a more personalised service.