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GUIDE TO GOING PRIVATE 

 
It's often thought that 'going private' is difficult to do. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact it's quite simple to access private health care by just following these steps.
 
First, go and see your GP. He or she will be able to give you advice and most importantly, help you make an informed choice about what is best for you in meeting your specific needs.
 
If you need tests or investigations and you choose to go privately, you will probably find that most private hospitals will be able to carry out the tests or investigations promptly at a time which is convenient for you. The results of these tests are usually back with your GP faster than otherwise.
 
If you need to see a specialist hospital consultant and wish to go privately, your GP will be able to refer you. If you have a particular consultant in mind, perhaps someone who has treated you before or has been recommended to you, then tell your GP.
 
Many people choose private treatment in order to guarantee access and care by a particular consultant. Most consultants are employed at a local NHS Trust hospital and base their private practice with a local private hospital.
 
When you book to see a consultant privately, you shouldn't have to wait too long for your appointment and often consultants see a patient within a couple of weeks. Private consultations with a specialist cost about £125-200, but the fee varies from one consultant to another. If you require treatment you can choose to stay in the private system or continue to have your treatment within the NHS. Within the NHS you will have to join the waiting list and your care may also be provided by another consultant.
 
Private hospitals are prevented from recommending particular specialists but if you wish to know who works at a particular hospital, then contact your local NHS or private hospital for this information.
 
Some private hospital services can be accessed directly without a referral from your GP. These include health screening, physiotherapy and some pathology tests.
 
If you wish to know more about these services or which services require GP referrals, contact your local private hospital.More information about private health care can be obtained from the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations (FIPO).