What happens when you see a Consultant or private provider of healthcare services privately?
We understand that some patients will opt to have some or all of their treatment privately, and support your right to do so. However, to prevent any misunderstanding we would like to take this opportunity to explain how the NHS and General Practice work alongside Private providers of care.
This leaflet describes what you can expect to happen if you see a doctor privately.
What do I need to do?
For patients making use of health insurance eg Bupa
Your GP will write a referral letter if they feel this is appropriate but you don’t need one to access a private doctor you can just access their service via their contact routes. You need to check carefully what your insurance provider requires in order to fund your treatment some may refuse payment if they haven’t been involved in all of the steps / process. Any letter from our GP’s must be requested via our admin team. If you do request a letter we would encourage you to wait until you have this letter before making an appointment, as the details within it will help the doctor you see. Please note that if an insurance company wishes for a specific form to be completed you or they will be charged for this additional work.
For patients who do not have a health insurance policy
If you do not have health insurance and wish to book directly with a private clinic, you do not require a letter and can arrange the appointment as you wish.
You should contact the Consultant’s team or your Private Health Care Provider to organise an appointment. Should you have any questions regarding your appointment you should contact them directly.
Seeing the Consultant
What happens if I need a test or procedure?
If the Consultant thinks that you need any tests – including blood tests – or a surgical procedure, then the Consultant is responsible for:
Arranging tests and any medications that might be needed prior to the test, as well as explaining how and when you will receive a date for the test, and what to do if the date is not suitable for you;
Giving you your results and explaining what they mean. This may be via letter or a further face to face
Please do not contact the Practice to discuss the results of tests organised by other doctors. It is the Consultant’s responsibility to discuss this with you, and the Practice may not have access to the results, or be in a position to interpret them. The Practice is not obligated in any way to perform tests or examinations requested by a private provider these remain fully the responsibility of the private provider.
What happens if I need new medicines?
The Consultant might suggest prescribing new medicines for you or might want to make changes to the medicines that you are already taking. They will be responsible for giving you the first prescription of any new medicine that you need to start taking straight away. Please note if you take a private prescription to any NHS Pharmacy you will have to pay the actual cost of the medication rather than the current NHS standard prescription charge, which may be more or less dependent on the medication prescribed.
In some cases, your GP may be able to continue to prescribe these medications on an NHS prescription. This will need to be considered by the Practice and is not guaranteed as it is at the discretion of the GPs and dependant on NHS medication rules and regulations. Prior to this, a full clinic letter from the consultant is required, outlining the reasons for treatment, explaining the precise details of the prescription; what it is being used to treat; how long the treatment is intended for; and what monitoring or follow up is required before the Practice can decide whether we can continue to prescribe. Please note it is your responsibility to check in advance any possible problems with medication prescribed by a private provider being continued in NHS Primary Care.
Please allow at least seven days for any letters to arrive before contacting us.
If a prescription is needed sooner than this you should contact the Consultant’s team (usually via the secretary) for them to prescribe.
Private consultants may suggest medications to patients which wouldn’t normally be prescribed by NHS GPs. If this is the case, you will need to continue to receive them from the Consultant. Please contact them directly to organise this.