How to choose a consultant

By Spire Healthcare

Page last reviewed: February 2021 | Next review due: February 2022

Choosing a consultant to give you treatment for what might be a complex illness, can seem to be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some things to consider when choosing a consultant.

Check their qualifications and experience

Your consultant will be suitably qualified and publish their number of procedures on the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN). You can also look into any training or continued professional development they have completed. You can find out more about the consultants providing your care on our website.

Checking expert and patient reviews

Patient review sites such as Doctify, iWantGreatCare and Care Opinion can help you to build up a picture of consultants and hospitals. You can also view Spire Healthcare’s patient feedback.

Safety records

Hospitals and other health providers are inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), or equivalent health regulators in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Reports are publicly available. You can also view Spire Healthcare’s safety overview.

Contact the relevant professional association

All consultants, whether they are private or NHS, must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). They will also be a member of the appropriate organisations and associations. For example, surgeons will be members of the Royal College of Surgeons. You can check the register of each of these organisations online or use MyNHS.

Check their reputation

You can search online or ask around to see what reputation a specific consultant or surgeon has. Talk to friends, family, any doctors or nurses that you know, or ask your GP what they thinks of your chosen consultant.

Ask your consultant/specialist

You can ask your consultant/specialist about their experience and suitability to treat you and your condition. You can also ask what their success rate is with the procedure and how this compares to the national average. You can even ask to see any recommendations from previous patients, or if they have any complaints on file.

Ask your private medical insurance company

Private medical insurance companies have a lot of experience working with private consultants and practitioners, so it may be worth asking for their feedback. Your insurance company may recommend a consultant for you.

CMA compliance

In October 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (the "CMA") published the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014 (the "Order") following its investigation into the private healthcare industry. The Order imposed requirements on private hospital operators to disclose certain information in relation to referring clinicians (as defined by the Order) for the benefit of patients.

We are required to set out specific information about our relationship with consultants, including key charges made by Spire Healthcare and any financial interests in Spire held by referring clinicians. This information can be found on the CMA compliance page for each hospital and in the consultant profiles where applicable.

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