Private Healthcare Providers

In today's market, there are many private healthcare providers who are able to give an alternative or supplement to the publically-funded National Health Service. Although the NHS provides a basic level of healthcare for all residents of the UK, private healthcare often acts as a "top-up" to such services.

Private Healthcare Providers

There have been great developments in the private healthcare sector over the last few decades, with particular opportunities being offered by new legalisation establishing greater ties between the NHS and the private sector.

Stronger links between private healthcare insurers and hospital groups have also been fostered. An alliance known as H5 has been set up (including General Healthcare Group, Spire Healthcare, HCA International, Nuffield Health and Ramsey Healthcare UK) to encourage these links with the NHS.

Against this background, private healthcare providers are not just here to stay, but should be seen as representing a growing part of the healthcare picture, whether as a "top-up" to NHS services, a parallel provider or (increasingly) actual NHS contractors, subcontracting work for the NHS.

It is also said that with NHS funding cuts and reviews rarely out of the news, private healthcare providers are predicting a boom in business. As medical services are cut or reduced in different areas, so patients will increasingly look to the private sector. Areas particularly affected include non-urgent and potentially costly treatments such as those within fertility services, weight loss treatment, ophthalmology and orthopaedics.


Some well-known private healthcare providers include:

  • BMI. They operate over 70 hospitals and clinics nationwide. Specialties include cosmetic surgery, weight loss, fertility and woman's health.
  • BUPA. Have a range of healthcare plans as one of the UK's leading private health insurers. They operate a number of privately run hospitals and also offer services such as travel insurance, care homes, health assessments and childcare.
  • AXA. Operate personal and business private health insurance schemes with a wide range of coverage options.
  • Cigna. Established for 21 years in the UK. Provide business and individual healthcare insurance schemes.

The majority of private healthcare services are funded by private insurance schemes. Typical benefits of private healthcare will include shorter waiting lists, greater choice and more luxurious accommodation.

However, there are a number of medical services and treatments which are not a part of the private sector's healthcare insurance provisions, or may be restricted. These include pregnancies, AIDS/HIV, dialysis, cosmetic surgery, dental/oral treatment and learning difficulties. In these cases, the costs of private medical services may have to be funded without the benefit of insurance.

Conversely, some medical procedures, treatments or therapies may not be available on the NHS, and private healthcare providers may be the only option.

Services Offered

Today, the leading private healthcare providers are able to offer a complete medical service, including the operation of a network of hospitals and clinics, private ambulances and transport, health assessment and check-up services all supported by professional and experienced staff.

Whether for self-paying, insured or NHS contracted patients, private healthcare providers are filling an important and growing need in modern Britain's medical services spectrum.

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