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Should we pay privately to see a GP

should we pay privately to see a gp
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With NHS services creaking under the weight of demand, getting a GP appointment can be difficult. Bulldog receptionists can appear to be a little over-zealous in their guarding of the appointment book; So what to do? Never one to miss a business opportunity, the private healthcare sector now routinely offers private GP services for members and non-subscribers alike. Should we pay privately to see a GP?

Why Go Private?

It’s well known that one of the primary benefits of private healthcare in general is the shorter waiting times. And private GP services are no different. Most requests to be seen result in an appointment within 24 hours, with urgent requests more easily accommodated on the same day. Appointments tend to be longer too, giving you time to fully explore your concerns with a GP.

Additional Benefits

Many people, put off by the herd mentality and battle for airtime, now only visit their GP when they have a significant medical concern. Yet GPs are can offer a rich seam of advice on a broad spectrum of medical issues, from travel vaccinations, to screening tests.

While it is perfectly possible to raise such issues with an NHS GP, time constraints can interfere with the response, and leave patients feeling a little short-changed. With teams of medical specialists providing them with dedicated support it is possible for private GPs to recommend further exploratory tests or consultations with greater facility. Yes, there may be additional costs involved, but for those who can afford it and are prepared to pay for the privilege this opportunity can be appealing.

How Much Does it Cost?

should we pay privately to see a gpPrices vary across the different healthcare providers, but around £70 will buy you 15 minutes with a private GP, and fees in the region of £130 can deliver 30 minutes of dedicated GP attention. It may sound steep but for peace of mind it may be worth it. You also turn up in the knowledge that you are a customer as well as a patient, which should ensure that you receive an elevated level of commitment.

None of the above sets out to run-down the fantastic job done by many GPs on the NHS in often very challenging circumstances. It merely serves to explore the alternative. Like most French residents, I pay an arm-and-a-leg for my healthcare here. Services are still heavily subsidised by the government, but an annual insurance policy is essential if you don’t want to risk finding yourself seriously out of pocket should some illness or accident befall you or your family.

Do I get my money’s worth? Yes. Categorically. Without a doubt. Got a pain in my knee? MRI scan in two days time, plus consultation with the specialist. Unexplained pain in the back? Instant referral to an osteopath and a course of physio for as long as is needed. GP appointment? When can you come? And I’ll greet you with a smile, shake your hand, kiss your kids and not bat an eyelid when you say ‘Oh, and another thing …’. I won’t bore you with more examples, but suffice it to say that the injection of private care into the system here pays massive dividends in terms of the patient experience.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the NHS – I think they do an amazing job. Give them the funding they deserve and they could provide services that would knock spots off the private sector. But the fact is that unless every taxpayer is prepared to dig very very deep to fund it, little with change. Would I pay to see my GP? I already do, and would seriously consider it in the UK from time to time if I felt I had issues I needed to explore in more detail.

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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