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Getting referred to the NHS or Private Consultant of your choice

Overview by
Dr Tristan Booth
General Practitioner
School Hill Medical Practice
Brighton

Choosing a particular Consultant on the NHS – your legal right

If you wish to be treated in the NHS by a particular consultant for a  procedure, whether you find them on this site or elsewhere, you can choose to have your first outpatient appointment at the hospital where the consultant works and be treated by that consultant’s team. Sometimes this may be a private hospital providing services to the NHS.

But this does not necessarily mean you’ll be seen by the consultant themselves.

The link button will give you all the information about how to be referred by your GP via the NHS e-referral system

This choice is a legal right. If you’re not offered a choice at the point of referral, ask your doctor why and say that you wish to go through your options. The downside is that you might wait several weeks or even months to see a member of the team. You can phone the hospital and check waiting times.

There is no ambiguity with with regard to Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPG) and Prostititis.

The situation is slightly different is you are suspected of having prostate cancer where there is an NHS requirement to be seen by a specialist within 14 days and you are likely to be refereed to your local hospital. In this case check out that your local Trust supports the latest diagnostic pathway for Prostate cancer, details of which you can find on the site. When you see the Consultant you may ask him or your GP to be referred to an NHS service which does follow the pathway. Similarly if are interested in a particular treatment, that you think you are suitable for, such as HIFU, you can ask the local Consultant or GP to be referred to a Consultant in the NHS offering that service.

If in doubt, Prostate cancer UK have a help line which should be able to assist you. The number is 0800 074 8383

Private insurance

If you have private health insurance, choose the Consultant you wish to see, and phone your insurance company for confirmation that you are covered by the insurance. Sometimes, for hospitals in central London, you will not be covered. In this case contact the Consultant’s office, Consultants often work at several hospitals some of which you may be covered for. Once you have established your insurance policy covers the consultant you wish to see, you will need to ask for a referral letter from your GP and formal approval from your insurer.

This information is usually required when visiting a Consultant or Private hospital or clinic on arrival.

Private health insurance does not buy you better treatment, what it can do is shorten waiting times for diagnosis and treatment.

Self Pay

If you want to shorten waiting times for diagnosis and treatment, or access a therapy not offered on the NHS, you can pay for it yourself. In theory, you do not need a referral letter from your GP. In practice the British Medical Association (BMA) strongly recommends that you do have a referral from your GP or other doctor.

It is strongly advised that you make inquiries with the office of the Consultant to confirm likely costs for initial consultation, and potential diagnostic and treatment costs before making an appointment. Many hospitals offer loan arrangements to cover the cost of care. See the link button for more information.

Switching between NHS and Private healthcare

Your are perfectly entitled to access the private sector to receive a diagnosis and the switch to the NHS, even with the same Consultant, for treatment. The converse is also true.

You can be diagnosed in the NHS and then pay privately for part or all of your treatment.

Usually, you will need a referral letter from your GP. The only circumstance that is frowned upon is receiving the same diagnostic teats or therapy at the same time in the same hospital both privately or on the NHS.

Prostate matters is a not for profit organisation that is committed to providing free expert advice about prostate issues from leading Clinical  Authorities

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