A healthy relationship between NHS and private care

Patients have more choice than ever about where to have their private care. So, what are the advantages of having your private care in an NHS hospital? And why does Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust choose to offer private care to patients?

If you decide to opt for private healthcare, there are numerous choices to be made about where to go for your treatment. Personal recommendations, insurance conditions or even convenience can all affect your decision. Having said that, there are some unique advantages to having your private care within an NHS hospital.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is one of the largest teaching hospital groups in the UK. Unlike many private hospitals, patients have access to state-of-the-art equipment and over 500 world-class consultants working across every medical specialty. If an Imperial Private Healthcare patient has multiple health concerns, a multidisciplinary team of experts works closely with their chosen consultant, looking at all of their health problems together. This team approach means Imperial Private Healthcare can offer a holistic package of care to patients, without the need to refer them elsewhere.

As the hospitals are affiliated with Imperial College London, many consultants are also involved in clinical research. “As a private patient within this NHS Trust, our patients also benefit from cutting-edge research techniques originating from the college”, said Imperial Private Healthcare’s clinical director, Professor Alun Davies. “Because the consultants run their trials within the NHS environment, these techniques are often available to all our patients (private or NHS) very early on. These are often unavailable anywhere else in the country, or indeed, the world.”

Most importantly, private patients can also be transferred quickly to specialist facilities, such as intensive care units or high dependency units, which many small private hospitals do not have. “Patients have the added security of knowing that if the need does arise, they can be immediately transferred without having to wait for an ambulance,” said Professor Davies. “The peace of mind that provides to our patients is immeasurable.”

These additional benefits sit alongside everything you would expect of a private hospital – Imperial Private Healthcare also provides dedicated consultant care, flexible appointment times, en-suite rooms and talented chefs on site. So for our patients, it really is the best of both worlds.

Offering private healthcare in an NHS hospital does not only benefit the patient; the hospital and its clinical team also benefit from the arrangement.

For consultants, having the opportunity to run their private practice from the same location as their NHS practice is also appealing. The consultants are able to work alongside the same trusted specialist team of nurses, anaesthetists and support staff for both their private and NHS patients. Spending so much of their working lives together makes the team much stronger, and, as a result, they become more efficient and skilled at working together.

Ultimately, the reason that the Trust chooses to offer private care is that it is an excellent source of income which supports the hospitals in their aims to deliver first class care for all.

“All the profits we make at Imperial Private Healthcare are reinvested back into the Trust”, explains Professor Davies. “Ultimately it means that all of our patients benefit from the additional income, whether NHS or private.

“There will always be patients that choose private treatment,” he continues. “We offer a way for these patients to access the same high-quality facilities and care that they would expect from any private hospital, with the added advantage that the money they invest supports the healthcare needs of the wider community and not a shareholders’ pocket. It’s a win-win situation.”