Many people who live in the UK happily turn to the National Health Service when they need particular healthcare that is available on the service. The taxpayer-funded NHS is free at the point of delivery; however, in some instances, you might still want to consider private treatment instead. Here are some examples of ways that private treatment can assist you.

Are you entitled to free NHS treatment?

This kind of treatment is very broadly available within the UK. If you are a UK resident, you are entitled to receive NHS treatment at no financial charge. It is irrelevant what taxes you pay or what your nationality is; you also don’t need to be registered with a GP. You would still be entitled to freely receive any type of NHS treatment at any NHS facility, including hospitals and GP surgeries.

However, if you don’t live in the UK but instead occasionally visit it, you may need to pay for medical treatment that you require while in the country. The Patient website outlines various exemptions to this rule; however, if you aren’t covered any of them, then private treatment would be your only option. Fortunately, a broad range of healthcare services is available privately.

Is the treatment you want actually freely available on the NHS?

Even many people who can use free NHS services might decide against doing so in favour of drawing upon private medical services instead. One simple reason is that they may want to receive treatment sooner than the NHS would allow and wouldn’t mind paying for this privilege. Tellingly, The Guardian cites long waiting times as a factor behind more people recently “going private” for healthcare.

This route can be especially attractive if you already have private medical insurance, perhaps as a perk of your employment, and so would not need to pay anything extra to take this route anyway. Furthermore, some treatments just aren’t offered by the NHS; these include cosmetic surgery and particular infertility treatments.

Another possibility is that there is a certain specialist who you are especially interested in seeing, but does not offer any of their sought-after services through the NHS. Private treatment would cost money – and, if it doesn’t come from insurance, you could source it from savings or loans instead.

Good examples of services that are available privately

Consultants can offer services privately – whether they let you make a spontaneous appointment or only accept patients referred by GPs and so will have your complete medical history. Treatments that can be offered by a private hospital include colonoscopy, endoscopy, gastroenterology, gynaecology, physiotherapy and urology.

All of these particular treatments are available from what is also a GP-staffed, gastroscopy and orthopaedics hospital: Highgate Private Hospital. It is based in London, where it can also treat various issues with knees, feet, ankles, hands, wrists, hips, shoulders and elbows. The hospital accepts payment from self-developed funds or private medical insurance – and you can phone the hospital on 020 8108 3241 to learn further details.