Specialist treatment: 5 factors to consider before the search begins

By Lee Cavendish on 02 November 2022

Before you spend hours on the internet searching for a private hospital, clinic, or consultant, who can give you the best healthcare treatment, it’s important to know what you’re looking out for. To make your private healthcare journey easier, we’ve asked Lisa Trybus, Executive Director of Circle Health Group’s Clementine Churchill Hospital, to list her top 5 factors to consider before going private.

5: Back-up facilities

Depending on the severity of the procedure, you may need to consider if the hospital has adequate facilities for an extended stay. Invasive procedures, such as total hip replacements, will undoubtedly leave a huge physical toll, but patients will heal and adapt in different timeframes. If a doctor says that you may have to stay in the hospital, post-procedure, for three days, you may need to be prepared that that could turn into five days or a week. If that is the case, then ensuring that the hospital has sufficient space is an important point to consider. In the case of Clementine Churchill Hospital, Lisa explains:

“[At Clementine Churchill Hospital,] we've got an intensive care unit with six intensive care beds, which means that we do take more complex patients that need intensive care, but we've also got that in terms of backup for patients.”

4: Accreditations and qualifications

“The first one is the CQC. They are the regulatory body of healthcare in the UK, for both private healthcare and the NHS. I think people can be reassured when they're looking at CQC reports of hospitals that is the best comprehensive assessment of the hospital’s performance.”

As Lisa details, the CQC is the first point of contact when reviewing the accreditations for healthcare institutions. The Care Quality Commission publishes comprehensive inspection reports and ratings, which are free and easy to access. This is an excellent resource for patients looking to gain a greater understanding of the hospital or clinic they are looking to visit.

When it comes to consultants, they will usually have a web profile on the operator’s website that will often showcase their qualifications and accreditation. If their GMC (General Medical Council) number is listed, this can be cross-referenced on the GMC website to check whether they have a license to practise.

3: Location

“Patients will generally find somewhere that's reasonably close to them, and they may already know them in their community. This is because the patient is not having to drive miles and miles for various consultations, follow-ups, and blood tests.”

As summed up perfectly by Lisa, patients will want to avoid the time spent travelling between home (or work) and the hospital or clinic. As a result, patients will weigh up how far they are willing to drive for the best specialist care. In addition to the travel times, you may also want to consider how embedded the consultant or establishment is in your community.

On GoPrivate.com, we allow patients to change the search radius to suit their travel requirements.

2: Speed of access

“Speed and access are really important. In response to such a big increase in demand that we're seeing at the moment across all our hospitals at Circle, we've reacted quickly to that demand. We've now said, you can just go online to book your consultation, and if you can only come on a Tuesday evening, and you need to see any consultant, the specialist consultants will appear with their available appointments.”

The main reason people go private is to receive non-urgent medical attention as soon as possible. You do not want the struggle of getting an NHS GP appointment and extreme surgery waiting times. In order to avoid this, private healthcare operators make the journey from consultation to treatment as easy and straightforward as possible. If a consultant or organisation is not making this journey easy and simple, then it could prove to be a reflection on the quality of their care.

1: Reviews

“You can get a good flavour about the hospital on the reviews and whether that's Google Reviews or Feefo.”

“You'd never choose a holiday somewhere without looking at the reviews and getting a feel for what the team are like, and you can get that from reviews. How kind is the team? Are they helpful? Do they want to go out of their way to help you? So, I think reviews are really important.”

As with any consumer purchase, you will want to check the reviews before you buy. You will want to ask the questions Lisa stated above to try and understand the experience you are about to undergo. Therefore, reviews are key to helping patients decide whether they want to use the services of a particular establishment or consultant.

Find the right one

You can find all of this information on GoPrivate.com, which helps you find the right private hospital or consultant:

  • Back-up facilities? Our profiles contained detailed and up-to-date information about hospitals and clinics across the UK
  • Accreditations and qualifications? All profiles include information such as qualifications, memberships, accreditations and GMC number (if applicable)
  • Location? On GoPrivate.com, we allow patients to change the search radius to suit their travel requirements
  • Speed of access? Our Fast Track service allows patients to contact their preferred consultant or organisation will ease. 
  • Reviews? Our carefully moderated Private Healthcare Reviews website provides accurate accounts of patient journeys for hundreds of hospitals and clinics

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