Accessing private healthcare: your step-by-step guide

It’s easier than you think to access private hospital treatment without the need for health insurance.

Our six-step process covers how you can pay for the treatment you need. At Circle Health Group, our fixed-price packages make paying for yourself practical and affordable.

 

Please note: The following steps describe how to access private healthcare by paying for yourself (debit card, post, cheque or online).

 

If you would like to know more about accessing private healthcare through your insurance, click here.

Step 1: book your consultation

Your private healthcare journey begins when you require prompt medical attention. 

You might feel anxious at this stage, especially if you detect a health issue suddenly. Although this can be alarming, it is important to remember that accelerated treatment with an experienced specialist is an option for you.

Firstly, you need to book a private consultation. There are two ways you can do this: 

With a GP referral letter:

Simplified payments processSome Consultants require a referral letter from your GP (general practitioner) before they agree to see you for a consultation. This is mostly to confirm that their expertise matches your medical needs, as supported by your GP.

To determine whether your Consultant requires a GP referral letter, call our friendly team of advisors on 0801 636 218 or make an email enquiry. They can advise if the Consultant you have selected requires a GP referral letter.

If you do require a referral letter, then you need to request one from your GP. If they require you to have a GP appointment, then you should share your research with your GP. They will take this into consideration when they refer you to a Consultant. 

Once you have your referral letter, you can book your chosen specialist through our online booking facility or by calling 0801 636 218. 

Without a GP referral letter (also known as self-referral):

You can often book a private consultation without a GP referral letter. This will further accelerate your healthcare journey.

Our dedicated and knowledgeable team of advisors can answer any questions about self-referral requirements before you book. To speak to an advisor, call: 0801 636 218. If you’re already ready to book, you can do this online.

If self-referral is an option for you, you can book your consultation directly online using our consultant finder.

Step 2: attend your consultation

Your consultation will usually involve an analysis of your medical history and a physical examination. It is unlikely that you will receive diagnostic testing (MRIs, blood tests, etc) on the day of your consultation. Should you need diagnostic testing, your Consultant will schedule these for a later date.  

After you have had diagnostic tests, you will require a follow-up appointment to discuss the results with your Consultant if relevant. You will be told your diagnosis, treatment options and price package at this follow-up appointment. 

Sometimes, your Consultant might identify the cause of your problem during your first consultation. They might confirm your treatment option as well as price packages there and then.  

If you require surgery, your Consultant will advise when this could take place during your consultation. Otherwise, you will leave your consultation with a series of treatment options to consider before receiving a letter at home, confirming your diagnosis and options. 

Your Consultant may confirm that you do not need further treatment after identifying your health issue. In this instance, you can return home with your query resolved. 

Step 3: Schedule your treatment 

Woman paying her bill After your consultation and if you’re happy with your recommended treatment plan and price package, we will schedule an appropriate treatment date for you (if applicable).

Step 4: Pay for your treatment

Your Consultant will send you a bill for the cost of your initial consultation.  

We will bill you for the cost of any further testing you undergo.  

You can pay your bill using your bank card. Circle Health Group also offers two payment options to help you pay for yourself without health insurance.  

You can find out more about these on our Flexible Payments page. If you don’t want to pay for treatment using your bank card or through our payment options, you can pay for it via the telephone, by post or online. 

Telephone: 

Payment for a treatment can be made at any time via our automated payment line on 0330 008 0457. 
Post:
 
You can send a cheque made payable to BMI Healthcare Collections. Please ensure that your hospital account number and invoice number are clearly written on the back of your cheque. 
Online: 
You can use our quick and easy to use online payment page to pay for pending treatment, or treatment you have already had. 

Step 5: Undergo treatment 

The next step in your self-pay journey is to undergo treatment. 

Whichever treatment option you need, our multidisciplinary team of specialist Consultants, doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants offer expert care throughout your journey. 

We share important information about what to expect when visiting BMI hospitals for treatment (for an overnight stay, or just for the day). 

Step 6: Make the most of your treatment and aftercare 

The final step in your journey is getting better. 

If you have undergone surgery or a specialist treatment plan, you need to focus on your recovery. 

The cost of up to six months of post-discharge care is included in all our fixed price packages. Aftercare often includes physiotherapy and a follow-up appointment with specialists to monitor your recovery.

Questions, questions, questions

This is your private healthcare journey, paid by you. 

From your initial GP appointment to your aftercare – no question is unnecessary. Useful questions to ask your Consultant along the way include:

  • Why do I need this particular treatment?
  • How does private healthcare work?
  • How do I pay for my surgery?
  • Why do I need this particular test or examination?
  • What are the main benefits of this treatment or test?
  • How much will this treatment, test or additional examination cost?
  • What are the main benefits of this form of aftercare?
  • Do you offer a cost breakdown prior to consultations?

If you are unsure about your invoice total following diagnostic testing during your consultation or at any other stage of your journey, ask your Consultant or our nursing team for a cost breakdown consistently throughout each stage.

Cost-specific questions are always welcome.

Read more about the benefits of paying for your own treatment.

Contact our National Enquiry Centre for more information

Our dedicated and knowledgeable team of advisors can answer any questions about referral requirements before you book. To speak to an advisor, call: 0801 636 218 or make an email enquiry.

Knowing your bill

After attending a BMI Healthcare hospital, we will send you an invoice

Paying your bill

When you make a payment, you will need the following information:

  • Account number Help Example bill showing account number
  • Hospital
  • Invoice number Help Example bill showing invoice number
  • Invoice total

Reminders and follow-ups

If you don't pay your bill straight away (day 1), we will send you a reminder email after 14 days, then a letter after 21 days.

If we have your payment details (credit or debit card), you do not need to take any action as we will try to take a payment on day 30.

Simplified payment process

Easy payment options

If you choose one of our easy payment options, the process is a little different.

 

The BMI card

The BMI Card means you borrow a pre-agreed fixed sum that is paid directly to BMI Healthcare.

The card can be used at various points throughout your treatment.

 

Flexible payments

Our flexible payments option from Chrysalis means you agree to monthly repayments over a period that suits you.

This means you don't have to worry about paying bills during your treatment journey.

 

Private medical insurance

If you are using private medical insurance for treatment, you need to speak to your insurance provider about any excess on your claim.

They will send you a letter or email advising you on this and whether the payment is due to BMI Healthcare directly or to them.

Need help? Speak to one of our advisers today

0800 096 2906Live chat