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By referring patients to BMI Healthcare and other private institutions, GPs can relieve pressures on the NHS.
Shorter waiting times, specialised care and a greater choice over your care are just some of the benefits of private healthcare to you. But what about the benefits to the NHS? We explain how being referred to private hospitals and clinics can help the NHS.
Who can be referred to private healthcare?
Any patient can be referred to private healthcare if their GP thinks they need specialist treatment or care. Sometimes this is covered by the NHS, but often it is the patients with private medical insurance (PMI) that are referred.
If you would like to be referred to a specialist, you can ask your GP and they usually will allow you to seek a second opinion. In order for your medical insurance to cover your private consultation or treatment, you typically need to provide a letter of referral from your doctor.
What are the benefits of referring patients to private healthcare to the NHS?
The NHS has been providing healthcare to most people in the UK since the summer of 1948. It was founded on the reasoning that everyone should have access to good healthcare, regardless of income. Despite its achievements over the past seven decades, it has been reported that 41% of the UK population think the NHS as it exists today is not likely to survive until 2020¹.
With people living longer and population figures rising fast, the NHS is under increasing strain to provide the same level of care for more people without relative increases in funding. Referring patients to private clinics and hospitals can help to alleviate the following pressures.
It is expected that many NHS hospitals will be in deficit by the end of the financial year, and the institution is constantly facing cuts.
When the NHS was first established back in 1948, it spent 3.5% of the UK’s GDP. Today, it has expanded to more than 10% of the country’s GDP, showing just how much the population depends on its services.
Private healthcare institutions can help to relieve this pressure on the NHS, taking some of the costs out of the health service’s hands. BMI Healthcare is able to offer 90% of adults in the UK with PMI a BMI hospital less than an hour away, and can support a huge number of patients referred by GPs. When a GP refers a patient to us, the financial pressure of treatment and care is alleviated, saving the NHS money.
Easing NHS waiting lists
By going through private institutions for healthcare, patients can be seen by a consultant faster, which takes some of the anxiety away from those waiting to see a doctor. It is also beneficial to the NHS because it reduces waiting lists, helping the health service to always put the patient first – one of its main aims.
As one of the UK’s largest private healthcare providers, BMI Healthcare treats over 1.5 million outpatients and 276,000 inpatients every year. We have the capacity to admit referrals from GPs in order to help patients who don’t have immediate access to private healthcare.
Our clinics, hospitals and doctors specialise in over 115 fields and services, and we have centres of excellence in spinal surgery, orthopaedics, neurology, cardiology and cancer care. This broad range of expertise means we are well-placed to give patients immediate care when they need it the most, in turn reducing the NHS’ waiting lists and allowing it to treat patients more quickly.
Support NHS staff
NHS staff often carry the burden of financial cuts and increasing numbers of patients the most. With longer working hours and stretched budgets, the staff are expected to cope with the overcrowded wards. Many have admitted that staff morale is at an all-time low and this can affect the levels of care patients receive.
850,000 of our patients use their PMI to see us and GPs should take advantage of our services and the insurance providers to relieve their strains. Not only does referring patients to private healthcare potentially ease NHS doctors’ and nurses’ workloads, it could also give them the time they need with each patient to provide the best possible care.
Getting a referral
If you would like to see a private consultant using your PMI, contact your GP to request a referral.
To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337
or make an online enquiry.