1. How do I go private?

There are many different types of private health insurance from family plans to limited or specialist cover. One of the first things an insured patient should do is to check with the insurance company that they are covered for the necessary treatment, consultation or tests, and then request a claim form.

Most private health insurance policies do not cover patients for pre-existing conditions, chronic long term conditions that cannot be cured, or NHS services such as Accident & Emergency and ante-natal care for a normal pregnancy. Treatments such as cosmetic surgery and breast enlargement, alcohol, drug abuse or HIV/AIDS treatment, rehabilitation, sex changes, kidney dialysis, experimental treatments and drugs and organ transplants are also excluded.

Once you have confirmed your health insurance cover, you need to see your GP; most health insurance companies (and most procedures) require a GP referral letter. This helps the consultant and the private clinic familiarise themselves with your case history. The typical process for insured private patients is as follows:

  • Your GP recommends a specialist consultant and writes a private patient referral letter (sometimes the GP will charge for this). However, you can do some research on the specialist whom you want to treat you, and can ask your GP to refer you to a specific consultant.
  • You contact your insurance company to check that the referral is covered and obtain an authorisation reference.
  • You attend an out-patient appointment with the consultant where relevant tests are carried out (or booked for a later date) and either an outpatient/inpatient treatment is booked (or no further treatment is necessary).

Following outpatient treatment the consultant writes to your GP to update him/her and the insurance company settles the hospital/consultant bill, informing you of any shortfall which must be paid. For inpatient treatment, the date is booked, you are admitted to hospital and again the consultant sends an update to the GP. You attend a follow up appointment with the consultant and your insurance company settles both your consultant's bill and the hospital bill and will inform you if there is any shortfall to be paid. The process is the same if no further treatment is needed (i.e. GP updated, fees settled).

2. Do I need a G.P. Referral?

There are very few private GPs in the UK. So, when you decide to go private, whether you have private health insurance or not, your first step is normally to see your NHS GP. Your NHS GP will write the referral letter for your appointment with a private doctor or specialist.

Most private doctors, consultants and specialists will not see a patient unless there is a referral letter from the patient's GP. There are some exceptions to this. For example, physiotherapy, health screening, and cosmetic surgery and dentistry.

Once you have seen the GP, he/she will recommend an appropriate specialist or you can tell the GP which specialist you would like to see.

3. How do I arrange an appointment?

Step 1. You'll need to get a referral from your GP.

Step 2. Contact the consultant's private secretary to arrange an appointment with the specialist consultant.

Step 3. If you are an insured patient, contact you medical insurance company to obtain authorization for your course of treatment and provide this authorization number to the consultant's secretary.

Step 4. When you come to the hospital for your appointment you will be requested to sign an agreement to pay form prior to your procedure taking place.

4. What if I don't have private medical insurance?

Many patients without insurance opt to fund their own private treatment. For some procedures it is possible to choose a fixed cost package which enables you to know the total cost before you start your treatment.

At the time of admission you will be asked to sign an agreement to pay form. This is a legally binding document and by signing this form you are agreeing to pay for your treatment. You will be sent an invoice for your treatment which you are requested to pay within 14 days of the date of invoice. Payment may be made by debit or credit card, cheque or banker's draft.

5. Can I get finance or a loan for surgery?

Yes, specialist finance companies offer competitive personal medical loans and finance schemes specifically for people who don't have private health insurance and who want to fund their private health treatment.

6. What is included in the hospital fee?

You will pay your consultant (and if surgery is involved your anaesthetist) separately for his or her consultation and their time spent on tests, scans or treatment. The specialist will send you an invoice for his/her services.

The hospital charges for any tests, scans or treatment, medications and accommodation. All these charges (most of which you will be told of well in advance) are itemised and can be paid by credit/debit card, cheque or banker’s draft upon receipt of an invoice.

7. How can I settle my bill?

You will pay your consultant for his consultation and any time spent on tests, scans or treatment and this invoice will be sent to you by the consultant.

BPC will charge for the hospital fee which can be paid by credit/debit card, cheque or banker’s draft upon receipt of an invoice.

8. Will I get a private room?

All patients coming to the private patient suite at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital will be greeted on arrival and taken to the private patient suite, where they will be welcomed into the modern and comfortable reception area staffed by our dedicated and friendly private patient team, who are on hand to answer all your questions 24/7. All patients at Bournemouth Private Clinic benefit from a suite of large private rooms, with full en-suite facilities. All the rooms are well designed with high standards of decoration and furnishings. Satellite TV, radio and bedside telephone facilities are offered free of charge. We are also pleased to offer free parking, fast Wi-Fi and complimentary toiletries, ensuring our patients have a comfortable stay in a pleasant and caring environment. All care being delivered by our highly skilled consultants and clinical staff.

9. How can I find out more about Royal Bournemouth Hospital?

The Bournemouth Private Clinic operates within the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and makes use of its facilities. You can find out more about the hospital at www.rbch.nhs.uk