Why are more people looking at using a private GP?
In December 2018 NHS Digital released their October data which indicated that 2.8 million people had to wait at least 21 days between phoning for an appointment and actually getting one. Of those 1.4 million were having to wait 28 days.
This is, of course, particularly worrying in terms of treating health conditions at the early stages or quickly diagnosing vulnerable patients or for providing relief for painful conditions which may even affect work attendance.
As our population ages the standard 10 minute consultation is also becoming too short a time to cover those with multiple chronic conditions.
These two things alone are contributory factors to more people considering the use of a private GP on either an ad hoc or a permanent basis.
But the other reason for a rising number of people looking to use Private GP’s is that they are behaving like “consumers” rather than patients in the area of health care and are happy to seek an alternative route to health care – even if they have to pay for it.
Effectively what they are doing is attaching value to a service which offers:
- Increased accessibility – with same day appointments available in many areas
- Convenience – At a time and place which fits in with the demands of a busy life
- Longer appointments – typically 30 minutes
- Quick access to tests with equipment often in situ
- Prompt referrals to a tried and tested network of expert consultants
And many believe that, if they can afford it, they are removing the burden from a challenged NHS.
You do not need to have a referral; you can just make an appointment with a private GP.
You can visit on a one-off basis and your GP will receive a letter keeping them up to date if you require.
You can ask to be referred to a network of private consultants or you can go back to your GP for referral to NHS consultants.
You can have private tests quickly arranged and - with your permission – the results can be shared with your NHS GP for further treatment under the NHS system.
Any prescription coming from a Private GP will be a private prescription for which you have to pay However, these costs are often cheaper than the current prescription costs.
You can actually join the Practice on an ongoing basis.
It is unusual for your health insurance to cover the cost of a visit to a private GP but insurers do vary.
I hope this has been helpful.
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