The National Health Service was formed in the UK in 1948 and was the dream of health secretary Aneurin Bevan. It was his intention that free healthcare would be available to all and was financed entirely from taxation. Many people take the National Health Service for granted, believing that it will meet all your needs, but it is well-known that private treatment can often deliver faster diagnoses and rapid onset of subsequent treatment. Private Health Insurance, also known as Private Medical Insurance, is becoming increasingly popular. This sounds expensive – but people who have a good insurance plan can receive the benefits of costly diagnosis and treatment for a reasonable monthly fee, subject to the terms on the policy.
The NHS is free in Great Britain and is the only provider of accident and emergency services. It can provide medical care for most folk. The NHS is very popular and so we often see over-crowded wards, patients left on trolleys for hours and long waiting lists. A sensible alternative is private health insurance. Private patients receive a better service. This partly due to the speed with which one can obtain a consultation, meaning that one will get one’s diagnosis more quickly. Some people choose to go private without having a policy in place but the costs involved can sometimes be astronomical.
Worry not; there is an easy way to lessen the financial burden. Many people are able to access private medical treatment by taking out private health insurance. This type of insurance will pay for your private treatment either partially or fully, depending on options selected. With a policy in place, you would become a private patient in a private or possibly an NHS hospital. This will enable you to bypass waiting lists. You would usually be able to choose from a wide range of hospitals and also choose your own specialist. All you would need to so is get a referral letter from your general practitioner and telephone the private health insurance provider for advice about which hospital you wish to go to and which specialist to see. Private hospitals usually offer a private en-suite bedroom and a choice of tasty menus for in-patients, and personal consultations with the best physicians, surgeons and nurses. No more having to see junior doctors, registrars and housemen like in the NHS – you get to speak to the senior consultants for every visit. It can be very stressful being in a strange hospital when one is feeling poorly, but a stay as a private patient can make the whole event much more pleasant.
There is a wide range of companies offering health insurance policies and there is also a very large selection of plans and levels of service available. Private health insurance plans come in many forms: group policies for company employees, families, couples, individuals and even special types of people such as the over 50s. This means that a policy will exist for almost every need. It can be difficult to make a fair study and comparison of all the options available and it is a good idea to find a trained adviser to discuss your needs.
by Jenny H. Brown