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There is nothing more important than your health, where if you’re feeling unwell, you need to know that you can get the appropriate care you require. For some, this has meant a preference for independent healthcare, instead of relying on NHS provisions, where recent figures now estimate that around 12% of people in the UK currently have a private healthcare plan in place.
Multiple push and pull factors can explain the current popularity of private care, including the overstretched condition of public services and the increased affordability of private plans. Read on for a comprehensive look at why a private doctor might be the best choice for you and your family.
In the United Kingdom, the majority of our healthcare is provided by the state-funded National Health Service, which allows everyone to access medical aid for free. Increasingly however, private healthcare providers have also emerged in the UK, where independent services offer medical support at a fixed fee, which can be paid for either directly or through a private healthcare insurance provider.
These two services both offer an array of advantages and disadvantages, where some choose to utilise private healthcare for all their medical needs, whilst others only receive care from the NHS. Some patients prefer a mix-and-match approach, where private services can provide faster support for certain tests or surgeries, supplementing the care on offer from the National Health Service. Insurance plans generally don’t cover every medical condition, where some care needs will still be met by a state-funded service.
For those with the means and opportunity, there can be a myriad of benefits to choosing a private medical and doctors service. These may include:
At a private medical centre, there are generally better provisions for care of all kinds, because staff and services are not as strained as they are within the NHS. Some exclusive drugs and treatment programmes are also not state-funded, and so are only available privately, especially if the treatment is new or experimental. For some, this can mean private care can offer lifesaving medical support that would not usually be available.
Long NHS waiting lists are a major push factor that have motivated many to turn to private healthcare services. At a private service, operations, scans and assessments can be accessed much quicker, which can be essential if a health condition is serious or developing quickly.
With funds and manpower to spare, private services can offer a more personalised and thorough level of customer service to their patients. This means a greater ease in accessing doctors appointments without spending long intervals on the phone or in queues. A private practice can also offer more locations and out-of-hours services to make it easier to access healthcare.
With a state-funded service, there will be limited room for choice with the care you receive, where the NHS can only provide for a specific range of treatments. At a private practice you will have more flexibility when it comes to choosing your care plan, where you can also choose the doctor you will see and the length of your routine appointments.
As independent healthcare providers are privately funded, they can more easily employ extra staff when needed, compared to the staff shortages seen across the NHS. Staff retention in the private sector is also higher, which allows for a better quality of care to be delivered. This can facilitate widespread 1 to 1 support and allow for individual medical attention.
A private hospital or surgery is designed with comfort and luxury in mind, where hotel-like hospital rooms will be of a better standard than an NHS ward, which may be shared and lacking in privacy. Private services will have individual rooms readily available, where food and drinks services are also of a better calibre than those offered at a state-funded facility.
For those who are able to, opting towards private healthcare alternatives may help to relieve pressures on NHS waiting lists and services by directing some patients elsewhere. Whilst the impact of this is difficult to track with accuracy, it is generally thought that a significant move towards private care may be one way of managing NHS pressures in future.
As the private healthcare sector grows, more payment options are becoming available to help you manage the costs. This can include a variety of prepaid insurance plan options, which can be tailored to suit your specific medical needs. More workplaces are also providing private healthcare packages to their employees, offering a further way of accessing independent medical care.
Families with young children or a range of complex medical needs may find the added support and speed of a private service to be especially beneficial. Flexible hours can allow medical care to be accessed according to busy work and school schedules, where increased privacy and comfort can benefit the whole family.
The cost of private healthcare is something that can be managed through a variety of medical insurance plans and packages, which can provide for unexpected hospital or doctor visits. These packages can vary depending on your needs and your budget.
Private health insurance is the main option, where it generally covers hospital visits, surgeries and outpatient care, where these can give you the option to add family members onto a singular plan. This kind of insurance usually doesn’t cover treatment for pre-existing conditions that you had before applying for the plan. Separate terms are generally required for pregnancy and childbirth as well as chronic illnesses.
Other plan options include diagnosis insurance, which only covers the diagnostics process and not any subsequent treatment. This can be a good option if you wish to bypass NHS waiting lists and see a specialist quickly.
Cash plans are a further insurance option, which are generally designed to cover routine medical and dental procedures through a low monthly fee. This can cover things like optician visits or physiotherapy, where plans are adaptable to suit individual circumstances.
Some workplaces and employers provide a private healthcare or dental plan for everyone within a company, where this may have certain restrictions and limitations in place.
With any private care, there is also the option to pay out-of-pocket, where you are billed directly for the services used. This can be preferable if you only wish to use a private service on a one-off basis.
At Duality Health, we provide an accessible independent healthcare service designed to meet the needs of your whole family. With weekend availability, urgent care services and evening appointment slots, we’re here for you whenever you may need medical support.
Our broad range of GP services includes routine appointments and sports medicals. In addition to this, we also provide a scanning service, blood and allergy tests, and contraception advice.
Further to this, our Duality Health team is equipped to deliver a range of medical procedures, which can include joint injections, contraceptive coil or implant fittings, audiology services, and an array of minor surgical procedures.
NHS services are currently under more pressure than ever, where it may be difficult to get a routine doctor’s appointment, or to receive the attention you need. Our private GP consultations are designed to work around you, where our patients can opt for an extended appointment time slot if desired, and face-to face appointments are available as standard.
We offer GP appointments from £75, where nursing appointments are also available from £35.
Our health centre is located in Newry, where our building is fully wheelchair accessible, and there are several local parking options available. We are also situated within walking distance of two late night pharmacies to suit your out-of-hours needs, and we are just five minutes away from the nearby Daisy Hill Hospital.