Every day there is more news coming out in terms of budget cuts and the strain those are placing on an already overburdened NHS. In fact, as recently as October of 2014, there was a write-up in the Guardian that the finances of the NHS are in crisis due to budget cuts and a rising demand for services. With the availability of private GPs such as the London Doctors Clinic, some of this burden can be relieved and here are some key ways in which GPs can provide that relief.
Immediate Care for Acute Symptoms
Anyone who has ever had to schedule an appointment with their GP for immediate care based on acute symptoms that have developed knows that it sounds easier than it is. Most NHS GPs are booked solid so getting in to see them for urgent care is quite a challenge. Acute symptoms are those that come on quickly and are not due to an underlying disease or illness.
Often these are flu-like symptoms, food poisoning and such things as injuries or ear/nose/throat infections. The availability of private physicians can relieve some of the stress and should never be seen as competition. Those NHS GPs will see more than their fair share of patients and are most often relieved to have the help!
Consultations and Second Opinions
Another area that is apparently lacking due to budget cuts in the NHS is the availability of GPs to provide doctor-to-doctor consultations or doctor-to-patient second opinions. In a system that is already overwhelmed, there is neither a budget nor the time to provide these oftentimes necessary ‘extra’ services. Those who have private health insurance provided by their employer can be quickly referred to a private GP and can often get an appointment the very same week, if not the same day!
Treatment of Non-Resident Patients
According to the NHS website, visitors to England may need to pay for services and in advance if they want treatment. Some treatments may be provided and others may carry a fee. Also, the amount being requested may be dependent upon the part of the world those visitors come from. Members of some EU countries may or may not get fees. Even so, with an already extensive waiting list for services for taxpayers in the UK, foreign nationals may be better advised to seek private GP services in London. The alternative may be to do that or fly home, depending on the urgency of the condition.
It is not a secret that the NHS is in crisis, so having private GPs should be a cause for celebration. Most GPs see private doctors as a real benefit since they are just backed up with patients waiting to be seen. Whether you have private insurance, are a non-resident or simply want to get in quicker than your NHS provider can see you, know that there are private GPs who can get you in quickly and can offer the same level of medical care as any NHS physician.