Is Private Medical Care Worth Paying For?

Every UK citizen has the NHS, but sometimes that coverage does not provide the benefits that people desire. If you end up on a lengthy waiting list on the NHS, you might want to look for alternatives to get yourself through this process more efficiently. You can pay additional money to bypass the waiting list, depending on its importance to you and the amount of money that you can spare. In doing so, you can either purchase private health insurance, for which you pay a monthly premium, but have access to private hospitals, or by going through a self-pay private treatment option.


In 2008, over half a million people were waiting for operations through the NHS. Under the NHS Constitution, you have the right to up-to-date information regarding maximum waiting times. While the NHS does treat patients immediately in case of an emergency, some surgeries and other treatments do not fall under this category and, therefore, can take months to receive.

The average waiting time for treatment through the NHS is four and a half weeks, while about seven percent of patients have to wait over 13 weeks. The target for any NHS hospital is for it to take less than 18 weeks from referral to treatment, but this does not always occur when things get busy.

Private medial insurance

If you choose private insurance, you will usually receive treatment at an extremely fast rate. Although over 7 million people in the UK have this insurance, it is still significantly fewer than the people that use the NHS. Private insurance also gives you the right to choose where you wish to receive your treatment, depending on your personal preferences. You never have to put your life on hold with this type of insurance, since you decide when your treatment takes place, rather than a waiting list. In addition, you will usually have a private en suite in your room, which is definitely useful.

Paying for your treatment

If you do not opt for private insurance, you still have the chance to receive private treatment, as long as you can pay for it. If you go through the NHS and find that it will take much too long for your liking, you can pay for your treatment out of your own pocket. Remember, however, that this will cost you thousands of pounds, as private treatment is not cheap. As a result, it is highly recommended that most people invest in private medical insurance, rather than trying to pay for this treatment on their own.

Saving time

In the end, it is a good idea to take out some private medical insurance because it could save you a significant amount of time. It allows you to see a doctor right when you need to, without having to wait in line for one to become available. As you age, this private insurance increases in price, but it also becomes increasingly necessary because of complications that could arise. Therefore, it is a good idea for potential patients of all ages to look into obtaining private medical insurance because of the medical benefits that it provides.