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NHS GPs avoiding the subject of private healthcare with patients

Published on 23/11/2011

A new survey has found that the majority of GPs will not encourage patients to go private, even if they have private medical insurance (PMI).

Spire Healthcare, the second largest private hospital group in the UK, polled 1,001 GPs, and found that only 13 per cent will always discuss the option of private treatment with their patients.

GPs will not encourage their patients to get private treatment

Additionally, just 30 per cent of GPs will encourage suitable patients to seek private care.

With the controversial NHS reform leading to fears of privatisation, GPs may be wary of discussing private healthcare with their patients if there is a possibility that they could be accused of a conflict of interest.

Earlier this year, GPs in York were heavily criticised after they wrote to patients telling them that the NHS would no longer fund minor operations, and suggesting private treatment.

But whilst GPs are reluctant to discuss private healthcare with patients, a survey of 5,000 people conducted by insurer Simplyhealth earlier this year found 59% would consider paying to be seen privately if it meant they were diagnosed quicker.

Dr Jean-Jacques de Gorter, clinical services director at Spire Healthcare, said: "The NHS is under increasing pressure to do more with less and this is leading to not only restrictions in access to treatments, but also to longer waits.”

“It is only fair for patients to be made aware of all the options available to them."

Patients with private medical insurance should always go to their GP first in order to be referred to a private specialist. For more information on this process, visit our medical insurance FAQ page. Alternatively, compare health insurance policies online now to join the growing numbers of people who are taking control of their own healthcare.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

Categories:  Health InsuranceNHS and Hospitals
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