Best way to get private healthcare cover?

edited 2 February at 3:07PM in Health & Beauty MoneySaving
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mowgmowg Forumite
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edited 2 February at 3:07PM in Health & Beauty MoneySaving

Just looking into getting private health cover as my NHS GP has been a joke recently. I mean they always were a joke because it took a month just to get an appointment, but since covid all they do is suggest you to either go private or go to A&E because they don't want to put themselves at any risk whatsoever by seeing you in the flesh, even when it's clear you need a physical examination. Yet when I paid through the nose to see a private GP they were happy to see me whilst wearing the correct PPE. They felt perfectly protected, because they were.

I have a frontline job where I can't work from home and come into contact with lots of people throughout the day. Because of that I wear an N95 mask and face visor almost everyday. Yet despite being around numerous people who have tested positive over the last year who refused to do the same, I have never tested positive. I have no idea why NHS funded GP's think they can just neglect their duties like this. Are the price comparison sites the best bets or can it be better to approach private healthcare providors directly? Any input is appreciated.


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  • silvercarsilvercar Forumite, Board Guide
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    Private health care insurance that includes GP cover is going to be very expensive. Most private health care doesn’t include GP cover and requires a referral from a GP before you can access it.
    if you are looking at private health cover to make up for a perceived inadequacy in your GP, why not just book a private GP appointment?
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  • mowgmowg Forumite
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    Thing is if you book a private GP appointment won't you end up then being referred to private clinics for scans, blood tests etc? For which you then have to pay through the nose for as well? I'd be happy with cover that just covered speeded up scans, blood tests, consultant appointments etc, even if I needed to use my GP to make the initial referral. Is there such a thing?
  • edited 3 February at 3:50PM
    UndervaluedUndervalued Forumite
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    edited 3 February at 3:50PM
    mowg said:

    Just looking into getting private health cover as my NHS GP has been a joke recently. I mean they always were a joke because it took a month just to get an appointment, but since covid all they do is suggest you to either go private or go to A&E because they don't want to put themselves at any risk whatsoever by seeing you in the flesh, even when it's clear you need a physical examination. Yet when I paid through the nose to see a private GP they were happy to see me whilst wearing the correct PPE. They felt perfectly protected, because they were.

    I have a frontline job where I can't work from home and come into contact with lots of people throughout the day. Because of that I wear an N95 mask and face visor almost everyday. Yet despite being around numerous people who have tested positive over the last year who refused to do the same, I have never tested positive. I have no idea why NHS funded GP's think they can just neglect their duties like this. Are the price comparison sites the best bets or can it be better to approach private healthcare providors directly? Any input is appreciated.


    mowg said:
    Thing is if you book a private GP appointment won't you end up then being referred to private clinics for scans, blood tests etc? For which you then have to pay through the nose for as well? I'd be happy with cover that just covered speeded up scans, blood tests, consultant appointments etc, even if I needed to use my GP to make the initial referral. Is there such a thing?
    You seem to have very little idea of the costs of running any kind of private professional practice. The NHS shields people from the reality. Have a look at the cost of high end vet treatment for pets or the hourly rate charged by solicitors!

    Around here there are several private GP clinics that seem to charge either £80 for a 20 min appointment or £100 for half an hour. My NHS GP charges similar for private driving medicals or other work that is not part of their NHS remit.

    Many private medical insurance policies provide telephone access to a GP in addition to the normal cover for specialist appointments, investigations and inpatient treatment. However there are always significant exclusions for pre-existing conditions plus usually mental health issues etc.

    I am not aware of any policies providing cover for face to face GP appointments. Normally, to keep premiums down, they rely on the fact that some medical professional has assessed you and decided that further investigation is needed. At least a third of people who book NHS GP appointments (in normal times) don't actually need to see doctor and probably wouldn't if they had to pay! Sadly though, any charge would deter some patients who do have genuine medical needs.

    It may not be perfect but if it is as difficult to see your NHS GP as you claim (not remotely as bad as that here) then I would see a private GP. If they say that you need treatment then you are in a stronger position to ask for an NHS GP appointment or for the NHS GP to refer you based on what the private GP has reported.
  • silvercarsilvercar Forumite, Board Guide
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    mowg said:
    Thing is if you book a private GP appointment won't you end up then being referred to private clinics for scans, blood tests etc? For which you then have to pay through the nose for as well? I'd be happy with cover that just covered speeded up scans, blood tests, consultant appointments etc, even if I needed to use my GP to make the initial referral. Is there such a thing?
    Depends on the point when your private health kicks in. Some will require you to have been sent for these tests and scans by a consultant, so your private GP would be on your money, but once you see the private consultant, any scans would be on the health insurer (if you have cover that includes that). If it is the GP that orders the tests and scans then it depends on your policy, but I would expect simple blood tests to be a normal GP service and therefore you would need to pay, unless you went back to your GP.
    Usually found at a vaccine centre 💉
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    I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly.
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to [email protected]. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com.
  • CardewCardew Forumite
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    Private health car in UK is simply a way of paying to jump the queue for the more routine medical treatments 
    You will usually be seen by a NHS Consultant/doctor who has a part-time job away from his duties in the NHS. If your medical condition cannot be treated in the private facility, your consultant will arrange for treatment in an NHS facility.
    Private health has no training organisation. All consultants/doctors/nurses are trained/registered by the NHS at huge cost which is paid for by the taxpayer.
     
  • UndervaluedUndervalued Forumite
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    Cardew said:
    Private health car in UK is simply a way of paying to jump the queue for the more routine medical treatments 
    You will usually be seen by a NHS Consultant/doctor who has a part-time job away from his duties in the NHS. If your medical condition cannot be treated in the private facility, your consultant will arrange for treatment in an NHS facility.
    Private health has no training organisation. All consultants/doctors/nurses are trained/registered by the NHS at huge cost which is paid for by the taxpayer.
     
    It is not quite a simple as that.

    Your are also paying for additional flexibility and more comfortable surroundings. Private outpatient appointments are often outside of normal business hours which can be a big advantage for busy people. Plus, you get to see the chosen consultant personally whereas on the NHS, depending on your condition, you may well only see one of the more junior members of his team.

    Most NHS consultant contracts (apart from A&E and a few other areas) are for about two thirds of a normal working week. If they choose, certainly at the big teaching hospital here, they can then either have a part time teaching contract with the medical school or a private practice - but not both.

  • sherambersheramber Forumite
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    Maybe something like  Benenden Health Care is what you are  looking for.
  • lcc86lcc86 Forumite
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    sheramber said:
    Maybe something like  Benenden Health Care is what you are  looking for.
    Benenden offer telephone appointments with a GP and a private prescription service. Used it once and they couldn't tell me how much the medication cost so I didn't end up ordering it as it could've been £10 or £100! Ended up waiting for my GP. Livi has video appointments with GPs, they are sometimes linked to your GP surgery (you can check this on their website), but even if they're not you can pay for an appointment, I think it's £25. Prescriptions are standard NHS price. I recently started looking into private healthcare, there are a lot of exclusions to consider, if you've got a pre existing condition most won't cover it unless you're symptom free for 5 years. There are levels of cover too, some that cover full or partial diagnostics and these cost a bit more but not excessively so.
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  • asajjasajj Forumite
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    mowg said:

    Just looking into getting private health cover as my NHS GP has been a joke recently. I mean they always were a joke because it took a month just to get an appointment, but since covid all they do is suggest you to either go private or go to A&E because they don't want to put themselves at any risk whatsoever by seeing you in the flesh, even when it's clear you need a physical examination. Yet when I paid through the nose to see a private GP they were happy to see me whilst wearing the correct PPE. They felt perfectly protected, because they were.

    I have a frontline job where I can't work from home and come into contact with lots of people throughout the day. Because of that I wear an N95 mask and face visor almost everyday. Yet despite being around numerous people who have tested positive over the last year who refused to do the same, I have never tested positive. I have no idea why NHS funded GP's think they can just neglect their duties like this. Are the price comparison sites the best bets or can it be better to approach private healthcare providors directly? Any input is appreciated.


    Not being tested positive doesn't mean you haven't had it. Not sure why it is so difficult where you are but mine triages their patients and only ask them to go in in person if it is absolutely necessary. 
    I find it hard to believe they would refuse a physical examination it if you genuinely need it.

    If you want private cover and are happy to pay for it, I'd think the best place would be to check comparison sites.
    ally.
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