You are here > > Health > Private care > UK

What should I expect from having private medical treatment in the UK?

It's easy to think of private medical treatment in the UK as being vastly superior to the care proved by the NHS. Surely, the fact that you need to pay for private care means it's better?

The truth isn't quite so black or white. Private hospitals are generally newer and better furnished than NHS hospitals. You will also be given your own comfortable room with creature comforts and better food. Obviously, this is preferable to sharing a depressing NHS ward with ten strangers.

But the real beauty of private medical treatment is that you can have it when you want and where you want. There are no waiting lists, and you decide the time and day of treatment. NHS waiting lists have improved but you still may be required to wait several weeks for an operation.

However, despite what many people think, the quality of private medical care in the UK is unlikely to be better than that provided by the NHS. The nurses and doctors may be able to spend a little more time with you, but the care and treatment they provide will be just the same as their NHS counterparts. NHS staff are highly trained and vastly experienced. To suggest that they are inferior to private medical staff would be an insult. Besides, many private medical staff also work under the NHS.

It's also worth remembering that private medical treatment can not cater for emergencies or serious terminal illnesses. This is partly because private hospitals don't have the facilities or the funding to do so but also because the NHS does it so well. Private hospitals simply wouldn't be able to offer a service of the same standard.

What are the risks of medical tourism to Asia and Europe?

Fertility & Pregnancy


Artificial insemination
Learn about the costs, risks and probability of success from this infertility procedure.

Treatment abroad
What you need to know about having fertility treatment overseas.

Gender selection
A guide to the legal and moral aspects of choosing the sex of your baby.

Diet & Weight Loss