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How do private hospitals work in the UK?

Private healthcare is medical treatment that you pay for yourself, either directly to a private hospital or healthcare provider or through your private medical insurance.

Private healthcare providers run independently of the NHS and often have an advantage over the NHS in that they can offer faster treatment at a time to suit you. You can also often choose your Consultant, having been recommended by previous experience, personal recommendation or from a review site such as Doctify. 

It’s important to remember that seeing a Consultant privately doesn’t affect your access to NHS services. Once you’ve had a private consultation, you can either choose to pay privately for your treatment or wait for NHS treatment.

How can we help?

What to expect from private healthcare

Understand what happens during your private healthcare treatment from referral to discharge, and what to expect from a private hospital.

My treatment journey

How should I choose a private hospital?

If you’re thinking of going private for hospital treatment, read our guide to understand the key things to consider and where to find the right information.

Choosing a private hospital

Funding private healthcare

If you’re considering going private for hospital treatment, read our complete guide to funding private healthcare.

Private treatment costs

Get fast treatment using your private medical insurance

If you need treatment now - for yourself or a loved one - you can use your Private Medical Insurance (PMI) to access treatment at Benenden Hospital.

Access treatment through PMI

How to choose the right Consultant for you

If you’re paying for your own treatment, you can usually choose your own Consultant. Whether you're making a shortlist, using a recommendation, or starting your research from scratch, our guide can help.

Choosing the right Consultant

How to research hospital infection control and cleanliness

Before choosing a private hospital, you need to understand their hygiene rating & infection control.

Hospital infection control

I have a question about accessing private healthcare

What do I need to access private healthcare in the UK?

Although it’s not mandatory to have a referral from your GP or a specialist, the British Medical Association (BMA) recommends a referral as your clinician will understand your medical history and advise whether or not a referral is necessary.

How do I switch from treatment under the NHS to private treatment?

If you’re still receiving NHS care and decide to move your treatment to a private hospital, your treatment will be carried out by the same team. Your NHS care will continue to be free of charge, but the NHS won’t pay for or subsidise your private treatment.

Can private hospitals see my NHS records?

No, your NHS GP is under no obligation to share your medical records with a private hospital. Likewise, if you visit a private hospital for an appointment or treatment, your Consultant won’t share your medical records with your NHS GP without your consent.

What are the ways to access private healthcare?

The two main ways to access private healthcare are:

Paying for yourself: if you need help now with a health concern and don’t want to wait, paying for your own treatment in hospital is a smart way to get back on the road to recovery, fast.

Using your private health insurance: if you have private medical insurance, you can access treatment with authorisation from your insurer.

How can I claim for private healthcare on my private medical insurance?

If your hospital visit is being funded by an insurance company, payment will be made directly by your insurer in line with agreements we hold with them. Not all insurance plans cover the same things, so it's important to check exactly what you are covered for with your insurance provider.

How private healthcare works

If you self-pay or use your private medical insurance to access treatment at Benenden Hospital, we want you to be as fully informed as possible.

This short film from the Independent Healthcare Provider's Network outlines your rights around being treated safely, receiving the highest standards of care and having a good patient experience.

Contact us to find out more about private treatment

It's easy to find out more about treatment by giving us a call or completing our enquiry form.

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