Private Healthcare Systems

The NHS has been the main provider of healthcare in the UK for many years. While in some instances the NHS has worked in collaboration with private healthcare systems, an increasing number of people now use private healthcare systems for virtually all of their health needs. One of the main reasons that there has been an increased take up of private healthcare systems is a lack of patience with NHS waiting lists.

Private Healthcare Systems

Benefits of Private Healthcare Systems

Private healthcare systems offer users a number of benefits besides speedy treatment. If you have an acute condition and have to stay in hospital for a few days you will usually be given a private room with ensuite facilities rather than being situated in a general ward. One of the most attractive benefits of private healthcare systems is that if you have a problem you are more likely to get seen straight away and prescribed a course of treatment or a spell in hospital far more quickly than you might under the NHS.

Mirroring the NHS

To some extent private healthcare systems in the UK tend to mirror those in the NHS in that they can provide private practice GPs, hospitals, ambulance service, nursing homes and medical specialists though there is not necessarily a strict division between primary and secondary care as there is in the NHS. While some private healthcare systems may appear to mirror the NHS they do not have the same levels of accountability, they don't have to follow guidelines that are laid out for treatment nationally, and more to the point they only have responsibility for a small sector of the community and not the country as a whole. Unlike the NHS private healthcare systems do not cover you for any health eventuality and even if you have quite a comprehensive policy there may be some things for which you are thrown back on the NHS, if you develop a chronic condition for example.

Private Healthcare in the NHS

In order to provide a quicker and more varied service, some secondary healthcare is purchased from private healthcare systems by the NHS. Some routine operations may be undertaken through the private sector to cut waiting lists or for non-essential surgery such as cosmetic surgery. Private healthcare systems have their own clinics and hospitals and there are now more than 300 private hospitals in the UK in addition to the private beds that are available in the NHS. Private hospitals are not subject to the rules nor inspected by the same bodies as NHS hospitals. Present government has plans to increase outsourcing to the private sector, although this has not yet been passed as law.

Top up Care

Private healthcare systems play a considerable part in topping up in those areas that appear to be problematic in the NHS. People who have private healthcare insurance may use private healthcare systems to get a consultation quicker than they might on the NHS or to provide them with certain medications that their local health authority will not fund.

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