You are entitled to free NHS care even if you choose to pay for additional private care.
Your position on a NHS waiting list should not be affected if you choose to have a private consultation.
The NHS cannot pay for or subsidise private hospital treatment. There must be a clear a separation as possible between your private treatment and your NHS treatment.
If you’re receiving private and NHS care for the same condition, your NHS and private treatment can be supervised by one healthcare team. You cannot choose to mix different parts of the same treatment between NHS and private care.
For example, you cannot have a cataract operation on the NHS and pay privately for special lens implants that are normally only available as part of private care. Instead, you either have to have both the operation on the NHS and standard NHS lens implants, or pay for both the operation and implants privately.
You shouldn’t need to have any of the same tests twice – for example, to diagnose or monitor your condition. In this case, the test will probably be part of your NHS care and the result will be shared with your private care provider if necessary.
What treatments can my doctor tell me about?
Your doctor will tell you about all the treatments for your condition, including any that are only available privately. If you want to know whether your doctor can treat you privately, you will need to ask directly. They can then tell you about the private services they offer – for example, cancer medicines or other medicines not funded through the NHS.
What if I have complications?
Your private healthcare provider will normally treat any non-emergency complications that result from the private part of your care – for example, you might have side effects that need extra treatment.
You’ll need to pay for this treatment yourself. However, the NHS should never refuse to treat patients because the cause of the complication is unclear, and should treat any patient in an emergency.
Do I need a GP referral for private treatment?
No. You can get private treatment from a consultant or specialist without being referred by your GP. But the British Medical Association (BMA) believes it’s best practice for patients to be referred for specialist treatment by their GP because they know your medical history and can advise you if a referral is necessary. A referral is also needed by many private practitioners and private medical insurance policies. If you have private medical insurance, ask your insurer if they need a referral.