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A checklist for comparing private healthcare providers

Guide to going private - surgeons and xrays

Ultimately you want to choose a healthcare provider/hospital/surgeon that you trust and feel most comfortable with and if the people you are dealing with seem unsympathetic or impatient then go elsewhere.  Some of the points that you should check include ensuring that the hospital will follow an external complaints procedures code (to include external adjudication) and check that your chosen hospital has been accredited by an external organisation for the quality of its services and procedures. 


Ask what quality accreditations the hospital has, (such as ISO 9000 or Health Quality Service accreditation (HQS). The Healthcare Commission now publishes the results of inspections of both NHS and private hospitals on the web.


Patients with private health insurance will need to check that the hospital they are interested in is approved by their private health insurance company.  If you are self paying then you will need to double check that a specific hospital offers fixed price packages (all the large hospital groups do and also many independent hospitals and NHS Trust Private Patient Units).  If you're not on a fixed package, compare the daily room charge at each hospital, the accommodation and service, as well as the consultants’ fees, procedure, or medical expenses.  All independent hospitals offer single rooms, usually with en-suite bathroom or shower, TV and radio but find out how many in-patient beds there are at the hospital, and whether you would be expected to share a room with another patient.


If the treatment is for your child find out whether they have rooms for the parent to stay with the child, all things which will make a difference to your decision.  Most hospitals do have facilities for parents to stay overnight with children and offer visitor meals (which need to be paid for).


Undoubtedly some of the most important questions to ask the provider include checking their length of stay policy, what happens if something goes wrong and further treatment or another operation is needed, who would pay the additional fees and additional hospital costs?  You won’t want to deal with these issues after your procedure so be prepared.


It is perfectly natural to have some anxiety before a major operation or procedure but if you are happy with the answers given, if you have thoroughly checked the paperwork, feel comfortable about having the procedure done in your chosen hospital, know what is involved in the cost and feel confident about the surgeon’s abilities then you have probably found the right provider, but if you have any doubts at all at this stage, voice them with the relevant people, or make some enquiries with another provider.

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