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Why The Public Is Increasingly Going Private

Jul 18, 2008
The private hospital is experiencing a boom in the modern healthcare structure. The reasons behind this are diverse but there are a few which stand out; of these a dissatisfaction with the national health service is the most striking. However, people are also choosing to visit a private hospital so they can have their own room, a more diverse menu and the option to have family stay with them.

Increasingly the NHS is sending their patients to private hospitals and paying for the treatment. The government has created a fund for this policy as it helps to take pressure off the beleaguered health service. It is hoped by outsourcing certain operations to private hospitals that the waiting times for patients will be reduced dramatically. While if you are getting the treatment for free it is doubtless patients are more than happy, if paying for treatment, your choice of private hospital can be vital.

The lengths of the cues at health service hospitals is the most commonly given reason for going private. For example, if going in for hip replacement surgery the waiting times can be huge; in this case, a private hospital is probably the best choice if you want to be treated quickly. Much of the government fund for private surgery has been spent on hip replacements as it is a relatively simple operation and the numbers of people who need this type of surgery are vast. In addition, as this is an extremely painful and debilitating ailment, speeding up the operations procedure is advisable for the sake of patients' wellbeing.

For those who have visited public hospitals in the past a visit to a private one will astound them. Firstly the patients are rarely kept in wards; instead patients predominantly have a private room or are in a room shared by a small number of people. As well as having a private room, many private medical care institutions have en-suite facilities meaning that patients do not have to make the long walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The other benefit of having a single occupancy room is that if family members wish to stay and keep the patient company overnight, the provisions are there for this.

As well as the rooms however there are other fundamental differences when going private. Instead of the infamous hospital food there is normally a large and diverse al a carte menu; usually with a specialist chef. It is not just better food however; newspapers are often available for delivery as are provisions for the use of the internet. These small touches make the hospital stay that much more comfortable for the patient and can be considered one of the reasons behind the increased use of private institutions.

It is not just routine operations that can be carried out privately. Cosmetic surgery is probably one of the most widely undergone treatments in the private sphere, although the costs can be huge. In addition, patients who have been refused treatments on the NHS can opt to go private; such instances may be for couples who are undergoing fertility treatment. In this respect the private sphere is carrying out a vital complimentary service for the NHS.

As the NHS faces increasing amounts of pressure to perform it is doubtless that the private hospital will become a popular option for many. While you may have to pay, the widespread use of medical insurance has meant that people are more likely today to go private than ever before.
About the Author
Health expert Thomas Pretty looks into the increased use of the private hospital and the reasons behind this.
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