More and more patients opting to receive private treatment
As a consequence of increasing NHS wait times and restrictions on certain procedures, an increasing number of people are choosing to have their operations carried out privately. This private treatment is commonly sought for debilitating, if not life-threatening, ailments such as hip or knee surgery, or cataract removal.
One local private healthcare operator, Spire Fylde Coast Hospital, recorded a 30% increase in patients over the last year, with over 1000 patients in Blackpool and Fylde opting to have surgery privately, either through medical insurance or by paying for it themselves.
Spire Fylde Coast Hospital’s director Barbara Cummings said: “In recent years private healthcare has become more accessible, insurance policies are generally becoming cheaper and people are more aware that they have the choice to pay for themselves. Hospitals even offer zero percent finance options these days.”
As well as speedier surgery, patients also cite freedom to choose their consultant, greater one-to-one care and the privacy of their own bedroom as being important to them.
Last Christmas, Lesley Beck from Lytham St Annes, an otherwise fit and active 67 year old, recognised that she needed a hip replacement.
“I heard I might have to wait for over a year on the NHS and I wasn’t prepared to wait that long. We decided at Christmas time to go private and just get it done”.
Until her retirement, 18 months ago, Lesley was still working as a dancer and exercise teacher, based in the Middle East. Although she had been diagnosed with deterioration in her hip joint while out in Saudi Arabia, she felt that she could cope with it and it didn’t interfere with her ability to work and enjoy life.
However, since moving back to the UK, Lesley’s condition worsened. She was in considerable pain, had developed a pronounced limp and even needed help to get dressed.
“Life was just becoming miserable. I was in so much pain and I felt like an old lady. It was really getting me down,” she said.
After conducting some research and speaking with friends, Lesley chose Spire Fylde Coast Hospital’s Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Amit Shah, to perform the operation.
“I had the operation in April and it has been absolutely amazing. I feel like me again and it’s wonderful. I can’t praise the staff enough. Everyone from the surgeon and anesthetist through to the tea ladies, they were all so lovely. I was able to choose the surgeon I wanted, book the surgery on dates that fitted in with our life and even the room was beautiful.
“We didn’t have health insurance and so we had to pay for it ourselves but it was worth every penny.”
For more information on Spire Fylde Coast Hospital, visit www.spirehealthcare.com/spire-fylde-coast-hospital