Gransnet forums

Health

NHS or Private.

(62 Posts)
Spangler Sat 25-Jul-20 07:29:05

The prohibitive cost of going private wouldn't have been on our radar in the first thirty years of our marriage. But we have been fortunate, we are also lucky in that the area of London that we once lived in has become gentrified, pushing up house prices way beyond what many can afford. We made a tidy sum when we sold up.

Twenty years ago my wife was diagnosed with a fibroid cyst. Her surgeon said that the word cyst trivialised her condition, it was really a tumour, albeit benign. There was a three year wait for her surgery at the time, but the constant pain that she endured was too much for her to wait three years. She went private.

One of the benefits was that they used keyhole surgery so she didn't have the surgical insult of her abdomen being cut open, she was up and about and back to work inside two weeks.

Since then we have had three operations, my wife has had two and I had the hip replacement.

There are those who say that going private is tantamount to queue jumping, but the counter argument is that getting off the NHS waiting list shortens the queue.

How do you feel politically? Should we all just use the NHS? Or is there a place for private treatment?

gillybob Sat 25-Jul-20 07:34:08

I can assure you Spangler that if I had the money I wouldn’t have hesitated to pay for private surgery for my DH who has been waiting over 2 years now . He has had 3 operations cancelled at the last minute and the wait has meant that he has been very seriously ill indeed and has had 2 other emergency surgeries as a result of the neglect . Probably costing the NHS many £ thousands more than if they had just done the original operation 2 years ago. But hey that’s the NHS for you. Why do today what you can put off for 2 years.

You are indeed very fortunate to have the resources to pay for private treatment but I don’t blame you one iota for doing so.

Puzzler61 Sat 25-Jul-20 07:38:48

If you are financially sound, money buys you choices.
I wouldn’t advocate anyone using a credit card to pay for private health conditions as you cannot be sure what the final bill is going to be - there could be complications.
If you pay, you get treatment quicker, and you can indicate what dates suit you best.

I think those “going private” take the burden from the nhs, and many people of working age are enrolled in workplace private health insurance schemes for the convenience of choosing the timing of an op. or procedure.

I hope you and your wife are well now?

Urmstongran Sat 25-Jul-20 07:39:46

I don’t blame you Spangler. Your money, your choice. People with money choose to travel first class, pay for private education for their kids.

My bugbear with private hospitals is they have no A&E departments so any emergencies etc go straight to the good old NHS.

gillybob Sat 25-Jul-20 07:40:59

And they say money can’t buy happiness . hmm

Spangler Sat 25-Jul-20 07:52:24

Urmstongran

I don’t blame you Spangler. Your money, your choice. People with money choose to travel first class, pay for private education for their kids.

My bugbear with private hospitals is they have no A&E departments so any emergencies etc go straight to the good old NHS.

You are right about A&E, but they do emergencies so well that even the highest in the land use them. We all saw Boris when he came down with Covid19 and back in 2001, Prince Edwards wife Sophie had a life threatening ectopic pregnancy, she was taken the Slough General where she was treated just the same as anyone else.

You might like this post script to our private medical treatment. My wife worked for the NHS for thirty years. She's a retired paramedic.

J52 Sat 25-Jul-20 07:55:37

Not necessarily, my Aunt had a digestive tract problem. Not life threatening, but uncomfortable. She chose to have an operation to rectify the situation, privately.
It was in two parts, part one went well and when it was healed, the second operation was performed. Again in the private hospital. After a couple of days she was sent home. Within 48 hours she was rushed to the NHS hospital with complications, unfortunately she died. There could have been a negligence case, but no one wanted the emotional upset.
That was 7 years ago, last year her daughter was rushed to the local NHS hospital because she had septicaemia due to the same ( but unknown to her) problem. Emergency operation and different procedure. She’s fit and well now.
I’m not saying one is definitely better than the other, but when the chips are down the NHS comes through! And we need to protect it!

Curlywhirly Sat 25-Jul-20 08:01:53

Private health care is a double-edged sword isn't? My socialist background tells me that, where health is concerned, queue jumping because you are fortunate to have money is just so wrong. On the other hand, yes, it means less of a drain on the NHS. When my husband needed major heart surgery (a massive shock, he was only young) but was told there was a waiting list, we very hypocritically decided to just go private and pay for it. He had the operation within a week of diagnosis. We then decided to take out private health insurance for all the family and used private health care on numerous occasions for many years. However, as we got older, the insurance premiums became ridiculously expensive and we decided to cancel it. So we now use the NHS and would only go private it is something really serious that just can't wait. I know we are very fortunate and it does play on my conscience; I was brough up with absolutely no money and we were very poor, fortunately through hard work we now have a very comfortable life and I do feel guilty going private; I certainly know what it's like to struggle.

Urmstongran Sat 25-Jul-20 08:04:44

I worked in the NHS (not front line, admin) from 1972 until I retired 6 years ago Spangler - over the years I saw some changes - under Tory & Labour - good and bad!
😊

J52 Sat 25-Jul-20 08:05:34

Just for balance, when DS was a student he had a serious injury to his knee, through a bad rugby tackle. His knee was locked in a bend. He was about to sit his GCSEs, would need an operation and the NHS route seemed to be very slow.
We immediately went to a private physio and to our GP for a referral to a private Orthopaedic surgeon. So we were happy to pay for the operation. This must have triggered something in the system and within 3 weeks we had the NHS operation set up with same surgeon. Great NHS!
We still had 6 months of private physio as the NHS version was non existent.
DS went on to play for his club at county level.

Chewbacca Sat 25-Jul-20 08:13:53

If I had the money I'd go private for my knee replacement. I've seriously considered doing it now that the NHS waiting times are even longer. I can't understand why anyone wouldn't if they were in the financial position to do so.

Willow73 Sat 25-Jul-20 08:20:54

I and my sons (rugby players!) have had many operations privately and do feel guilty that there are others who are not so fortunate and have to wait years in pain. However, it is expensive and once you start a policy with one and you have conditions it is hard to transfer to a cheaper company. My policy just came up for renewal and it was very dear. I thought about cancelling but when you listen to stories now of appointments and operations being cancelled and delayed due to corona and take in the fact that I am getting older and more things could start ceasing up, the benefits out way the financial outlay. Some people buy new cars, houses, boats etc with all their money but personally I prefer to have my private patient plan.

Spangler Sat 25-Jul-20 08:31:34

J52

Not necessarily, my Aunt had a digestive tract problem. Not life threatening, but uncomfortable. She chose to have an operation to rectify the situation, privately.
It was in two parts, part one went well and when it was healed, the second operation was performed. Again in the private hospital. After a couple of days she was sent home. Within 48 hours she was rushed to the NHS hospital with complications, unfortunately she died. There could have been a negligence case, but no one wanted the emotional upset.
That was 7 years ago, last year her daughter was rushed to the local NHS hospital because she had septicaemia due to the same ( but unknown to her) problem. Emergency operation and different procedure. She’s fit and well now.
I’m not saying one is definitely better than the other, but when the chips are down the NHS comes through! And we need to protect it!

We do need to protect the NHS and I am surprised that the private hospital you mentioned wasn't investigated, or maybe it was.

You might remember the scandal at Stafford NHS Trust. www.nhs.uk/news/medical-practice/mid-staffs-inquiry-calls-care-failings-a-disaster/ That was certainly investigated and recommendations made.

Luckygirl Sat 25-Jul-20 08:42:22

I have used private health care on two occasions - for a hip replacement about 6 years ago. I chose to do this as I was to conduct an important concert a few months hence and wanted to be able to walk. The care at the private hospital was horrible - the sister was positively rude to me; the pain relief was abysmal (I have two conditions which mean there are things I cannot take); when I reacted badly to one of the drugs, it took them hours to deal with it; I went into AF and finished up on the NHS coronary care unit - and guess what?.....the hip still pains me badly now. Heaven knows what they did, but it did not work. The only gain was that my hip no longer locks in place.

The second occasion was when the NHS had misdiagnosed me. I was treated for one foot fracture, but they missed another, with the result that I now walk with a stick outdoors. The private consultant made the proper diagnosis, but it was too late to do anything about it except fuse all the bones in my foot, which I refused as it has a high failure rate.

So - yes I would use private where there was a good reason to avoid waiting, or the NHS had failed me - but it is all a bit academic now as I could not afford private any more - most of our savings vanished like water down a drain in paying for OH's care. That is quite another political hot potato.

fevertree Sat 25-Jul-20 08:46:26

I am sometimes puzzled when I see complaints about waiting times and deteriorating health, and can't understand why people don't pay for private treatment, especially if it is a life-threatening situation. It would never occur to me to consider it as "queue jumping". If I didn't have the money to have life saving treatment, I would even consider taking out a loan for private treatment (if my circumstances permitted that) rather than hope the NHS would come through.

I am currently putting money aside to pay for private treatment for something that is "no longer available on the NHS" (says my GP); it absolutely cannot be left untreated. So there are those situations too.

travelsafar Sat 25-Jul-20 08:52:36

If i had had money i wouldn't have endured so many months of debilitating pain before being allowed an MRI scan on my back and the resulting spinal injection for a nerve block.

If i had money or a health plan i would defo use it, good health is so important, plus it would free up a space for someone else on the NHS waiting lists.

sodapop Sat 25-Jul-20 08:52:37

I think people are entitled to spend their money as they wish. Using private health care does not mean one doesn't support the NHS.
I think there are good and bad services whether or not you have private care or use the NHS.

annep1 Sat 25-Jul-20 09:04:42

Gillybob money doesn't guarantee happiness but it sure helps.

I can't speak for others but my NHS treatment has always been as good as my, albeit limited, experience of private. I have no hesitation in paying for private if it cuts the waiting time and if I can afford it.. If waiting time is the same I would opt for NHS.
I can't afford totally private healthcare but if I could I would have it as there is generally only a short waiting time and it lessens the burden in the NHS.

I think the NHS is wonderful. I would hate to see us going the same way as the US.

gillybob Sat 25-Jul-20 09:04:47

I can’t understand why anyone should feel guilty for buying themselves out of pain or discomfort . If I had the money my poorly mouth would’ve been sorted months ago, my DH would have had his operation too and I wouldn’t feel in the slightest bit guilty .

Likewise if I had money I would retire and end the mental torture I put myself through 5 days a week .

Chewbacca Sat 25-Jul-20 09:20:51

I don't understand why "guilt" should come into it. Your money is just that; it's yours, to do with as you wish. You can spend it on private education, fast cars, foreign holidays, betting on the horses or private medical treatment; the choice is yours. And for every bed that you're not taking up in the NHS, you're leaving one free for someone else who can't afford to pay. Win win.

BlueSky Sat 25-Jul-20 09:38:11

Your money buys you privilege: first class travel, private education, private healthcare. It may not buy you happiness but it buys you comfort. Unfortunately most people have to wait for the NHS queue, travel economy, go to state schools. But as others have said you can have good or bad experiences in either, for health it's the quickness that appeals mostly!

Curlywhirly Sat 25-Jul-20 09:47:07

I agree, guilt shouldn't come into it. Ì think my guilt comes from being poor and now having no financial worries. Silly I know. We have earned our money honestly and I realise we have been very lucky, but I suppose I just have never got used to it; old habits die hard.

Nortsat Sat 25-Jul-20 10:07:34

I paid for a major operation for cancer treatment privately, 6 years ago. The tests, scans and operation were all completed within 10 days and I was back at home.
I received an appointment for an initial NHS consultation for the problem within 4 weeks, but of course by that time I had had my op and was well on the way to recovery.

We don’t have private health insurance, we used the funds we had put aside to upgrade the car.

I am a strong supporter of the NHS and as a disabled woman, I have benefitted hugely from its treatment and care over many years.

The consultant who treated me privately works for 90% of his time as an NHS surgeon. I don’t consider that I queue jumped or abused NHS resources. I paid for urgent treatment and had it in a private hospital.

My partner has done likewise, with a chronic condition which has an NHS waiting list of years.

Teetime Sat 25-Jul-20 10:41:48

I have always said that if I won the lottery my first purchase would be private health care for all the family. My last roles in the NHS involved close working with the private sector through the commissioning process as we worked through waiting list backlogs so I definitely see both sides of the argument spangler. In recent years I have had a few operations and procedures and have been very fortunate to have prompt and high quality care in the NHS. I do however have private insurance for dental care mainly because at one time I had a dreadful fear of having any dentistry. I feel the private dentist does give me the extra time and attention I need not to have the vapours in the surgery. However I would say the BUPA practice I intend has astronomical bills - may have to look round for another when I move house.

henetha Sat 25-Jul-20 10:52:11

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if I could afford private health care I would go for it. I believe in choices, and if I had the choice, rather that sit in a waiting list for many months, I would do so.
I've had wonderful help from the NHS and am very grateful for their care and help, but it's the waiting that is so hard to cope with.