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Free at the point of use?

(88 Posts)
Alegrias1 Thu 04-Mar-21 13:13:49

A prominent person has recently benefitted both from private healthcare and the expertise of our NHS.

I wonder what GNers views are of private health?

Should you be able to buy better or faster care if you have the means, or if Private HealthCare Insurance is available to you? Is that fair on people who can't access that care in that way?

GagaJo Thu 04-Mar-21 13:22:31

Ultimately, I think healthcare, like education, should all be state run, with no private healthcare or education. This way, it would be essential for those in power / the wealthy to maintain standards so their families don't lose out. I know it is unrealistic and won't happen, but... it is the only way equality is possible.

GrannyGravy13 Thu 04-Mar-21 13:24:30

I do not believe in dictating how people decide to spend their income.

We have Private Healthcare and we also pay for Private Healthcare for our staff (all of which is taxable)

tanith Thu 04-Mar-21 13:25:27

Life isn’t fair is it? If you have the means then yes access private care if you need it. Personally I probably couldn’t afford it and not sure I’d even feel comfortable if I could.

Doodledog Thu 04-Mar-21 13:29:42

I believe in freedom to spend you money how you wish, so wouldn't get rid of a private system altogether, but think that if we are going to have a two tier system then they should be entirely separate. A private system should train its own staff, build its own hospitals and not rely on the NHS (which is paid for with public money) at all.

I particularly dislike the system under which consultants use NHS clinics and hospitals to see private patients, who can 'jump the queue' by paying for an initial consultation. To me, that is really wrong, although if a patient is desperate (eg at risk of long-term damage if they stay in the queue), I can't honestly blame them for doing it, so long as they don't claim to be 'freeing up a space' for an NHS patient. They are absolutely not doing that, they are pushing ahead.

joannapiano Thu 04-Mar-21 13:29:48

We choose to spend our pension money on private healthcare. We are not wealthy and do not have extra tv packages, smart phone contracts, big holidays etc. The money this saves is better spent on our health, in our opinion.
Everyone has a choice as to how they spend their income.

Calendargirl Thu 04-Mar-21 13:35:49

If I needed an operation say, and by paying for it I could have it done quicker, then yes, I would if I could afford it.

No different to paying for private education for your children if you can afford it and choose to do so.

If I had earned the money, why should I not spend it as I wish? No point in suffering if that could be avoided.

Daisymae Thu 04-Mar-21 13:45:04

I agree in principal but I think that they system is skewed. Private wings in NHS hospitals where those that pay get the benefit of NHS investment and expertise so they actually get the best of both worlds. I've had private treatment and the consultant gave me NHS prescription drugs straight out of the cupboard, in an NHS hospital. Go figure.

BigBertha1 Thu 04-Mar-21 14:17:48

The NHS contracts for a significant number of procedures and operations per year with the private sectors at negotiated rates. They have done this for years to cope with waiting lists and at the moment the private sector is being more than helpful.
Whether people should pay or not for private healthcare is up to the individual.

eazybee Thu 04-Mar-21 14:35:35

The only medical care I have received has been via the NHS and it has been excellent; no long waiting times or difficulty accessing appointments. If I had paid I would have had a private room and pretty curtains, no better care. If people choose to spend their money on private care that is up to them; frequently it comes as a perk on people's salaries.

LadyGracie Thu 04-Mar-21 14:43:24

If we hadn't paid for private health care DH would have gone blind.
If you're lucky enough to live in an area where the NHS works well that's good.
In our area of Wales it is poor.

Doodledog Thu 04-Mar-21 14:46:19

I agree that how people spend their money is 'up to them', but I also think that private healthcare should be fully costed, and not include access to NHS facilities, whether these be drugs, staff or hospitals. I also think that staff who are trained at public cost should have to work exclusively in the NHS sector, at least until the cost of their training has been repaid.

easybee I don't object to people paying for private rooms or fancier curtains, but I do object to those who can afford it being able to push the less well-off back down the queue, possibly meaning that their illnesses become a lot more serious because of the resulting delays in treatment.

Doodledog Thu 04-Mar-21 14:50:59


If we hadn't paid for private health care DH would have gone blind.
If you're lucky enough to live in an area where the NHS works well that's good.
In our area of Wales it is poor.

That is a disgrace, LadieGracie, and is exactly what I meant when I said that I can't blame people for paying if they are desperate. It is also why I think that it is grossly unfair to have a two-tier system. If everyone got treatment on the basis of need rather than chequebook, you might not have been put in that position, and you shouldn't have been, as you have already paid for the NHS through your taxes.

NellG Thu 04-Mar-21 14:52:42

What a good job the system actually works in a way where the private sector supports the public purse. The NHS wouldn't have survived without the income from PH.

crazyH Thu 04-Mar-21 14:56:13

We have the best Health Care system in the world - the envy of all. Why, oh why, do we need to pay for private care !!

NellG Thu 04-Mar-21 15:07:31

Because if we didn't we wouldn't have the best HC system in the world.

NellG Thu 04-Mar-21 15:12:48

Just to clarify my points - how the NHS is funded...

Missfoodlove Thu 04-Mar-21 15:25:57

Is it fair or right that doctors are allowed to work for the NHS and privately?
I know people who have paid for a private consultation and then had the same doctor do the job on the NHS to queue jump.

NellG Thu 04-Mar-21 15:29:26

Missfoodlove It's not queue jumping, its that the same doctors work across both the NHS and Private practice. As for fair, it's how they make their money. The NHS doesn't pay anybody well.

GagaJo Thu 04-Mar-21 15:50:04

Yes, Missfoodlove, me too. An acquaintance had a private referral and consultation and then her doctor transferred her care over into the NHS. So by paying for a one off private appointment, she brought her treatment forward by over a year.

LadyGracie Thu 04-Mar-21 15:54:44

Doodledog the surgeon DH saw said that a quite a few of his patients were on NHS lists in Wales in the same situation as DH.
I agree we shouldn't have to pay to jump the queue to receive treatment especially when as you say we'd worked all our lives and paid for any treatment required in taxes.

eazybee Thu 04-Mar-21 17:01:15

I can only speak as I find.
I have several friends very proud of their left wing credentials, who don't agree with private health care at all but who used it like a shot when they needed not particularly urgent operations..' I don't agree with it all but......'

Blossoming Thu 04-Mar-21 17:07:07

I have no complaints about the excellent care I had, and am still having, from the NHS. However, my private healthcare, provided by my employers, was able to pay for a room in a private hospital, expensive scans and rehabilitation therapies that the NHS wasn’t able to provide at that time.

Doodledog Thu 04-Mar-21 17:17:52


Is it fair or right that doctors are allowed to work for the NHS and privately?
I know people who have paid for a private consultation and then had the same doctor do the job on the NHS to queue jump.

In my opinion it's neither fair nor right. Doctors are trained by the NHS, which is paid for by taxes.

I understand that when the NHS was founded it was difficult to recruit doctors, as they had all previously worked privately as there was no alternative, so they were promised that if they did NHS work they could continue to see private patients and lecture in medical schools (at a much higher rate of pay than other lecturers).

Now that every working doctor will have been NHS trained, I see no reason for this to continue, however.

grandMattie Thu 04-Mar-21 17:43:14

Yes and no. I agree that you cannot dictate how one's money is to be spent. There will always be inequality. Also if private patients pay through the nose in NHS hospitals, surely that money is being used for the benefit of those who can't pay, increasing the availability of things?

When my 82 year old mother was functionally blind from catarats, she was told that she would be on an 18 month waiting list to go onto the waiting list - remember those?

We decided that she could easily afford to go private, as she may well have died before she got her operations. In her case, there was absolutely no priviledged treatment. She was LAST on the doctor's list, and when she was reviewed it was at 0700 the next morning - certainly not the usual time for seeing patients!

Yes she jumped the queue, but no, she didn't take up any of the normal NHS patients' appointments/time!