What is private healthcare?

By Spire Healthcare

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

What is private healthcare?

The private or independent sector provides private medical treatment in the UK. They are separate from the National Health Service (NHS) but work closely in partnership with them.

You can pay for private medical treatment yourself (self-pay), claim through medical insurance or a workplace health scheme.

You can get private treatment for any medical condition by a medical specialist or GP. It could include:

  • Outpatient consultation and treatment
  • Diagnostic and surgery
  • Dental treatment
  • Physiotherapy
  • Counselling and psychotherapy

Things to think about before getting private treatment

When choosing whether to go private, you should consider:

  • If the hospital specialises in the treatment you need
  • How you plan to fund your treatment either by paying for yourself or using a health insurance policy which covers the treatment you need
  • Your consultant’s qualifications, accreditations or affiliations with industry bodies, for example the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
  • Health outcomes data or patient reviews – sources include National Joint Registry and the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN)

 You are still entitled to free NHS care if you choose to pay for private care. More information is available at nhs.uk.

Why go private?

There are lots of reasons for choosing private healthcare. You might want to get private medical treatment when:

  • A private healthcare provider offers the treatment you want
  • You want fast access to treatment
  • You want to choose the date for a hospital operation
  • You want to be treated by a consultant or specialist of your choice
  • You want a second opinion on treatment you've already had
  • You want a health screening
  • Sometimes the option to have treatment(s) may not be available on the NHS

At Spire Healthcare, we offer fast, flexible access to diagnosis and treatment with our nationally and internationally renowned consultants and specialists.

Find your nearest Spire hospital or clinic

Spire Nottingham Hospital