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Should I stick with the NHS or go Private?

NHS doctor

Living in the UK, we have some of the best healthcare in the world. And the best part about it is that it’s all free.

But of course, as we know the NHS does not come without its limitations and as we increasingly see the struggles faced by many NHS hospitals and trusts, are more and more of us considering moving away from the NHS and into private healthcare?

The main obstacle in moving from the NHS to private healthcare is obviously the cost, followed by the lack of information we have about it. Private health insurance can seem expensive and when we look at the amount we can get for nothing on the NHS, is it really worth the money?

Why pay to go private when the NHS is free?

The main benefit of paying for private healthcare is the speed of diagnosis and treatment. NHS hospitals are overstretched and unfortunately this can have a huge impact on waiting times.
If you are fortunate enough to go private, the time you will have to wait for referrals, consultations and operations will be greatly reduced.

You will also have greater control over when and where you see your consultant, plus depending on your level of cover, you may well have better access to a wide variety of treatment options and medication.

In terms of comfort, private hospitals offer private rooms, so you aren’t sharing with others on a ward, and typically private en-suite facilities. Flexible visiting times mean you can see your loved ones more often, making your stay much more bearable.

Typically the main expectations from private healthcare include the following:

  • – Seen and treated quickly by fully-qualified consultants
  • – Seen by the same consultant at each appointment
  • – Ability to choose your own consultant, with advice from your GP
  • – Ability to choose the location of your treatment, subject to availability
  • – Have a greater level of privacy, and upgraded facilities to that of the NHS
  • – Lower levels of ‘hospital-acquired’ infections

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What types of cover are available?

A variety of insurance plans are available to cover a number of different circumstances. Often it is difficult to determine what cover you need and what exactly the insurance will pay out for. If you’re confused about health insurance, read on.

Health insurance is calculated against the risk that you become ill or get injured and need treatment. There are a number of different types of policy, some much more comprehensive than others. By choosing a basic package, this could help to reduce your monthly costs; however that may mean you aren’t covered for all eventualities.

Here are some examples of policies that you may be offered:

Pre-packaged – this is the most straightforward option and it is generally the cheapest way of obtaining private health insurance.

You will receive a pre-set package of benefits designed by the insurer however this means that you have no say over what is included or excluded from the cover. This could limit your access to certain types of treatment or medication, or may exclude certain conditions. The limitations will be laid out in the terms and conditions of the policy so it always pays to check the small print before signing on the dotted line.

A policy offering limited cover could well be the way to go if you are confident that the NHS could still provide you with the assistance you need if not covered under your policy.

Flexible Cover – as the name suggests this allows you much more choice in your cover.

You can choose to have full cover with no limits on how much the policy will pay out – which of course will make the policy a lot more expensive than the pre-packaged option.

Certain policies may allow you to pick and choose various elements and place limits on the amount paid annually, per claim or how many procedures and appointments you can have per week. By cutting down the number of claims allowed, or the type of treatment received, you could reduce the cost of the policy.


In terms of choosing whether to go private or stick with the NHS, the above should give you a little bit more of an overview of what benefits you’ll get by paying for private healthcare, however it’s worth noting that no matter how much you pay for your private health cover, there are still services that not even money can buy.

Private healthcare doesn’t provide Accident & Emergency treatment, so if you find yourself needing to call an ambulance, or receiving emergency medical care at a hospital it’s the NHS that will come to your assistance.

So as it turns out we do need the NHS after all, however by mixing and matching our care with private health providers, it could help to lessen the over-stretching and do the NHS a huge favour.

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The above post is intended to be informative but does not constitute advice – financial, legal or otherwise. Any opinions given are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of SO Media or the Mitchell Farrar Group.

6 thoughts on “Should I stick with the NHS or go Private?

  1. Could you please inform me do you provide health insurance for countries outside of Britain

    Having read your website regarding NHS/Private care in the UK it is not always possible to even get private healthcare even though you pay for it.

    What does your private healthcare polices cost please.

    Thank you Ms Carter

  2. Manju Bhakta says:

    Can you pl a second tell me what is the cheapest package and the cost of this

  3. Manju Bhakta says:

    need to know the cost of the cheapest package please

    1. Alex B says:

      Hi, we can help you with a quote, just call our team on: 01244 456 187.


  4. Mrs Boyle says:

    Please could you tell me does any of the private health insurance packages cover existing conditions?

    Thank you

    1. Alex B says:

      Hi, there are options available. you can call us on 01244 456 533

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