Should I go private?

If you are considering seeking private treatment, you should always discuss this with your GP surgery before taking action.

We understand how frustrating it can be to be waiting for treatment, or that you may be considering some treatment that isn’t routinely funded by the NHS. There are lots of different places that you can get treatment that you pay for yourself, both within the private sector in the UK and in other countries.

Factors we would urge you to consider

It is really important to make sure that the provider is fully qualified, safe, and will provide you with an acceptable standard of care.

Whilst most private providers are fully regulated and registered just like the NHS is, this is not always the case. It is particularly important that if you are seeking treatment in another country, you make sure that the provider can look after you properly. This includes doing all the right health checks, pre-operative support, and follow up after your treatment if needed.

If the treatment would not normally be paid for routinely by the NHS, then you would be responsible for all the costs associated with your treatment.

Not all treatments are paid for by the NHS, and some treatments are only paid for in particular circumstances. If your treatment would not normally be paid for by the NHS, you would need to be prepared to pay for all the costs, including any follow up and management of potential complications. You should discuss this with the provider as they may include this within a pre-paid package of care.

You may need to travel back to the provider for follow up.

This is particularly important to consider if you travel overseas for treatment. Some treatments (such as obesity surgery) can involve quite a lot of appointments both before surgery, and several years of specialist follow up.

You cannot assume that your GP will be able to provide you the follow up care after treatment.

Your GP is only able to provide standard NHS treatment for you and is not able to replace specialist follow up after treatment. This is particularly important to be aware of if you have surgery overseas as the provider may not understand this as their healthcare systems are different.

Learn more about NHS post-operative support for self-funded bariatric surgery.

Help to ‘wait well’

The Suffolk and North East Essex Wellbeing Support Services website has lots of information for people waiting for surgery or treatment. You will find information about local organisations who can help support you with both medical and non-medical needs as well as advice on managing long term conditions.

Page last modified: 30 January 2024
Next review due: 30 July 2024