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Private Vs NHS

23 REPLIES 23
Atat
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

Yes, interesting. I had to wait over 2,weeks for my results. Then told I'd have to wait 10 weeks min. for rads, on NHS . Said I wanted to be transferred to another NHS hospital, which went ahead. Thank goodness!!!
SML1903
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

Hi

I am having my treatment privately. I started out with the NHS and after sitting around waiting at the hospital for nearly 6 hours for my appointents, seeing the nurse, having a mammogram followed by scan and needle biopsy and not even seeing a doctor I decided to go privately. I saw my Oncologist the following week and had my porta cath fitted an MRI scan, a weeks holiday and started treatment in less than 3 weeks. I have a lovely breast cancer nurse who I can contact when ever I need to and the oncology nurses are wonderful too. I saw my surgeon before I finished my chemo and have a date for my surgery. 10 days after surgery I see my oncologist again to arrange radiotherapy. So in conclusion private is fantastic and wouldnt go NHS unless our insurance wouldnt pay.Hope that this helps you make your choice.

chascat
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

I had my surgery privately through my husband's work scheme. I agree it was so nice to have a private room and bathroom with open visiting and good food. However, as Yvie has said, the support is generally woeful. The BCN at my local hospital saw me during her own time to check on my wound and give me emotional support. I went on to have my chemo and radio on the NHS, the staff were wonderful and I can't fault the treatment I received.

Yvie178
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

Hi I started nhs and had exemplary care and speedy appointments at the breast clinic, it was only on see the consultant that I was told my only option on nhs was the ld and am implant as oxfordshire will not fund strattice, I had insurance via my husbands work and we arranged to see the same consultant the following day at the private hospital, had the pre op assessment that afternoon and give date for mx for the following Thursday, my nhs appt letter arrived shortly after and was only a week after my private appt. the staff were great, very attentive, especially with pain relief, the surgeon came into see me on both the Saturday and Sunday when I went home with one drain. Follow up has been ok apart from there is no emotional support at all, my surgeon has given me her email address so I can contact her but I feel there are large gaps in the care.
June_BCC
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

Hello Frannie65

 

Welcome to the forums, 

 

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Frannie65
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

The reply to this post is very late but for those of you who have the same question here is my experience.

 

When I was diagnosed the wait would have been too long for me to endure.  My Father kindly offered for me to be treated privately and I was operated on within 2 weeks.  My care was beyond wonderful.  I had my own room which had an ensuite bathroom.  The Nurses, both day and night were kind and attentive.  I am not saying that this is not the case on the NHS, all Nurses are living Angels, their instinct is to care for the sick but the NHS wards are understaffed and the Nurses are chasing their tails.  Private wards are a world away from that scenario.  All is calm and peaceful - what you need to recover.

 

I had a fixed price for my surgery which included my stay in hospital.  I made it clear that I would not be going home with drains so therefore my stay was 5 nights.  I understand on the NHS some women are sent home within 24 hrs.  Whilst some women want to get home as quickly as possible others, like myself, would not want to be going home quite so quickly.  Bear in mind that 24hrs after surgery the anaethsia and pain killers are extremely good at masking the pain.  For me it was the 36/48 hrs after surgery that threw me a curve ball. The getting out of bed and going to the toilet, washing, brushing my hair, changing my surgical socks, bending down, sitting up, showering and then washing my hair.

 

My care in the private ward gave me strength to face what has/had happened to me.  My visitors could come and go as they pleased and I could have as many flowers as I liked.  I was surrounded in them/by them.  It may sound superficial but this all helped with my recovery.  In saying that if the Nurses thought I was too tired for visitors, they all got sent home.  But I can't stress enough how lovely it is to have your family and friends surrounding you drinking tea, eating cake and all is normal.  Those moment I would not have experienced if I had been operated on under the NHS.  It was a moment of pure clarity looking around that room that made me realise how much I was loved and it gave me such enormous strength.

 

Eash and every member of staff involved in that private ward - Administrators, Cleaners, Health Care Assistants, Catering Staff and of course the Nurses deserve and have my respect, whether it be private or NHS care but all those involved in my care and recovery were exceptional. 

 

 

CBreeze
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

This is a interesting question. My experience with the NHS has been awlful !!!

 

So assume Private treatment could only be better.

 

I think it depends where you live and which hospital is treating you. I have talked with several women treated in different NHS hospitals and we all felt that there is plenty of room for improvement.

 

A year on I am still waiting for my expanders to be  replaced. I have only managed to see my plastic surgeon twice since the bi lateral mastectomy, which I think is very wrong.

 

 

 

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Private Vs NHS

I've had both private and NHS as well. But just because you are private, does not automatically make things any easier. I was seen privately at the Marsden originally, but on surgery day no private room was available, they had an emergency. SO I stayed in a normal ward and was moved 2 days later. All my NHS treatment has been examplary - apart from the waiting to see the consultant. But then I had to wait to see the consultant privately as well. I think the problem with all cancer treatment is that it is unpredictable. The patient before you might have the need for an extra long consultation, so consequently you have to wait. I had all tests done on the NHS after that and all further surgery, never had to wait more than a few days, always the consultant of my choice and can't possibly fault any treatment I had.
3network3
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

I was given Neulasta injections too right after chemo #1 as a matter of course and I'm NHS through and through. I had no underlying health problems and was beginning of 40'ties and "fit and healthy" (or so I thought) when diagnosed.

Duffer56
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

I had a MX and DIEP reconstruction back in May on the NHS and I cannot fault the treatment and care I have received. I was diagnosed at the end of March and surgery was done and dusted by mid May.
whe reI am beginning to struggle however is that the NHS have been brilliant to get rid of the cancer and do the reconstruction but not that I am no longer a priority I feel I have dropped to the bottom of the queue to get any help with the scarring on my abdomen as it is now considered to be 'cosmetic'.
i had all the help I needed for my recon breast but have had little help to deal with the surgery on my abdomen - it is almost like that is trated as collateral damage.
i can have remedial surgery done to tidy up my tummy scar if I have nipple reconstruction or the other breast reduced but I don't want to have surgery on my breast just to get the surgery done on my tummy. I still have a long way to go before I need to make a decision but I may decide to just have the tummy scar sorted which could well mean I have to fund it myself (without insurance).
jaybee2905
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

Like peggless I too was routinely given Neulasta as part of my private treatment - I assumed that I would have received the exact same drugs/treatment had I been treated on the NHS. I'll be interested to find out if that's the case and I will ask my Onc at my next check up.
But as I mentioned previously, I was never told about Looking Good, Feeling Better. Despite having a really good NHS BCN who came to visit me at my private hospital, and who even came to my first private onc appointment with me and my husband. And she was very accessible after my surgeries and Rads, for wound care/dressings/prostheses/compression sleeve etc. On the whole I feel I was able to get the best of both worlds, and perhaps by having my treatment privately I took a little tiny bit of strain off the NHS. And I have noticed that very few people on here have anything bad to say about their standards of care on the NHS.
Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Private Vs NHS

I was diagnosed after a routine (NHS) scan. At the results appointment I told the consultant I had insurance and asked whether it was worth going private. The consultant herself had a private clinic at a local hospital, so she said I could stay with her - and the treatments would start more quickly than with the NHS - or I could find another consultant if I wished.
I stuck with her (privately) after having Googled her credentials - she referred me to an oncologist that my insurers 'approved of'. I had an SNB, chemo (at home) and surgery privately (total bill about £30k), then radiotherapy on the NHS (which my insurer paid ME to go to).

Having compared notes with NHS patients, I think the private treatment was more disjointed - it was largely up to me to make sure everyone knew what was happening (for example the onc didn't tell the surgeon that I had thrombosis). Also, I never really knew whether the nurse at the private hospital was a 'BCN' - I heard women talking about 'their nurse' but wasn't sure if I had one too. I know now that I can contact the private nurse at any time if I have concerns, for free. She invited me to various workshops including lymphodaema and meditation. I went to the 'look good feel better' session at the NHS hospital, after one of the private chemo nurses mentioned it to me.
My surgeon and her aenesthatist were expensive and my insurer would not cover their entire bill - but the money I got for the rads more than compensated. My insurer will not cover my consultant beyond 2013 as she is not on their 'approved list' (she's too expensive), but I can still see my onc going forward.

All things considered, I'm not sure going private made a whole lot of difference. The biggest difference for me was in the hospital waiting rooms - which I know sounds trivial, but NHS waiting rooms are grim and depressing; and having a private en-suite room for the operations was nice. Drugwise, I think I got better anti-nausea drugs for chemo, and I had neulasta as a matter of course, which the NHS only give after you've had a health scare. I had a line put in for the chemo on request - I don't know if the NHS would do that.

My employer pays for the insurance, and if I leave my job I will consider continuing the policy as I'll have difficulty getting one elsewhere.
I don't feel I 'queue jumped' - my consultant and onc both work for the NHS, and held private clinics out of normal hours. Often they were delayed at the NHS hospital and my appointments were late.
finty
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

Jaybee makes a very good point about the isolation of private treatment as my chemo unit was fairly quiet, but on the other hand I can see my onc whenever I want, and often for up to an hour at a time. I send her research and she will go away and read it and evaluate it for me. She has also given me her mobile number so I can text her if I need to. The same applies to any other consultants I have been referred on to by her - radiologist, liver specialist etc. I have also been able to access treatments and drugs that were not at the time available on the NHS (Avastin, cyberknife, denosumab) - as I have secondaries I feel this has made a big difference to my prognosis.

jaybee2905
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

I had my diagnosis and chemo and rads all carried out privately. So I can't compare to NHS standards, but for me the major drawback of private treatment has been that I have had no contact whatsoever with other BC patients. I recently attended a cancer charity fashion show to model wigs and met a couple of other patients there, and was surprised to learn that they'd all received all kinds of goodies etc through their contact with the breast care centre (Look Good, Feel Good - I've no idea what that was?). I think I missed out on these things because my BCN just assumed that because I was a private patient that I wouldn't necessarily appreciate freebies, or chats over coffee with NHS patients
So the privacy becomes isolation. And while I'm quite a private person anyway, I think it might have been nice to meet other women who were on the same journey as me.
BlackSwan
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

I also got stressed and anxious when I was waiting for treatment. The long wait drove me nuts even though I could understand why they needed to do scans etc. I just wanted them done quicker!

I felt better when I finally had a treatment plan, but there was still the waiting list for treatment - only another 3 weeks 😞

But once treatment finally started, I felt mentally so much better. The battle had commenced.
If your Mum can just hang in there until things start to happen, I think she will be happy with the standard of nhs treatment.

The nhs staff in my hospitals are lovely.
Lemongrove
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

NHS virtually always. Reasons for choosing the NHS:
(1) Unless you have health insurance, or are seriously wealthy the costs could potentially cripple you. If your mum ever required more exploratory work the cost of scans (particulary MRI's) is phenomenal, as is the cost of drugs like Herceptin or Lapatanib, (should she ever require them). For example the cost of Lapatanib is around £50.00 per tablet (and I take four of these a day before I even start on a number of other very expensive drugs). In fact if you think Lapatanib is expensive you will be astounded by the cost of chemotherapy drugs. Every dose of FEC would set you back about £3,000 (and FEC is usually given in six cycles).
(2) Within the NHS you can ask to be treated by anyone you like, and your preference will normally be met. If you have private health insurance such as BUPA you would just be given a list to choose from. So having private health insurance doesn't ensure you get the top guy/woman.
(3) As Kitten-Mad has said above, the consultants you would see within the private sector also work within the NHS. For example the Professor in charge of my NHS treatment also works in Harley Street. There has never been an issue about seeing him, because I always make an appointment with him.
Reasons for choosing the private sector:
(1) Faster access to drugs/radiotherapy. Some drugs/radiotherapy/treatments are only available within the NHS after an application for special funding has been made (for example Cyberknife or Gamma-knife stereotactic RT), but are readily available within the private sector (assuming the insurer agrees to pay for them).
(2) More time to chat with Consultant.
(3) Nicer surroundings, and less riff-raff

Jayne_m
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

I was diagnosed following a mammogram on NHS then when I said to the NHS breast care nurse that I have insurance through work she advised me to use it as I would have the same surgeon (who I had already met and liked) but would free up an NHS space for someone else. That made sense and the treatment I have had privately has been excellent and the breast care nurses lovely. The private hospital had a small chemo ward so I was never on my own and have made a couple of chemo buddiesthink was also given the gold standard anti sickness drugs and immunity boosters but they are also available on the NHS, just not given as standard. From the people I have met on this journey, private or NHS, the treatment has been excellent and if I hadn't had insurance I would have been absolutely fine on the NHS.

Jayne x
kitten_mad
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

I have only used Private for a mammogram which was a false alarm. Then when I was diagnosed last year I never dreamt of going private. Everything swings into place so quickly and I was given all my dates within a couple of weeks of being diagnosed. There are a lot of tests beforehand - there has to be for major surgery. If you in a major city hospital with a renowned cancer unit - you will use the same surgeons, theatres and rads facilities regardless of which means you choose. If you google your local cancer hospital and look at the breast clinic and then do the same for your nearest Private hospital, you will see the same names and photos etc. My only gripe about private patients is that they expected to queue jump when receiving Radiotherapy. I would keep the money and use to for a great holiday when your mum's treatment has finished or some special treat. If your mum still works then she may lose income for a while. If you don't already have medical insurance I would seriously stick with the NHS - they really know what they are doing as regards BC - especially if you are lucky enough to live in Scotland!
Hope everything goes well for your mum
KM x
carolihne
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

I've done a bit of both too. There are plusses and minuses to each. I think with the private system you are more likely to be seen by the main Onc than one of his team (although your treatemnt plan will be overseen by him/her) your Mum will not get to see him/her in person so much.
I think you get more emotional support on the NHS - in my experience the breast care nurses don't really have time for the private patients - nothing political just the way the system works (or dosnt).
If you are a person who likes peece and quiet and being on your own then a private room is a plus but if you are a people person you may prefer to be on a ward - yes it is noisier and more chaotic but you get to meet some lovely people and there is less time to brood.
In my neck of the woods all chemo and rads are done in the same place for private and NHS - so you just have to take your turn in the queue and wait - which can be frustrating.
Hope you can help your Mum make the right choice for her.
cheers
Caroline

chascat
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

I second that Benedictus

benedictus
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

Hi SHCT. I've done both and NHS wins hands down for emotional support which is SO important in the whole process.

chascat
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

I was diagnosed on the 13th January 2012 and had my first op, privately through my husbands health scheme at work 10 days later and a further op 6 days after that, however, I was advised it would be as quick on the NHS. I opted to have my chemo and rads on the NHS and I have no complaints what so ever about my treatment. Yes I could have had it in a nice hospital room with lots more staff and nice food etc but always felt that the NHS was the gold standard. I started my chemo 2 months after my diagnosis. The invoice for my surgerly alone came in at several thousand pounds, goodness only knows how much it would have cost for the chemo and rads. I would say it's not worth going private, your mums treatment will be within the recommended timescales and she really wont get better treatment if she goes private, if she had insurance I would say go for it, but without it no.

hazelmary
Member

Re: Private Vs NHS

I was diagnosed nearly 10 years ago and had private health cover. Whilst I would agree that it is quicker, going private is not necessarily better but probably the same depending on the hospital and I felt a little isolated not speaking to other patients.
I did receive copies of my bills for WLE, 6 FEC and 25 rads and it came to about £20,000 and that was 10 yrs ago. so I don't know whether your Mum has private health cover but I would think that you can op in and out for different parts of the treatment.
Hope you get more replies with more up to date information.
Hazel

Guest user
Not applicable

Private Vs NHS

Hi,
Mum was diagnose with BC about 4 weeks ago. Since then she has been to various of tests and scans. She is getting really frustrated with all the waiting as she just wants to start treament asap. I understand her frustration but told her that they need to do all the necessary tests so they know what they are dealing with. She is know talking about going private because she think things will happen quicker and she will get a better standard of care.
Can anyone share their experience of going private and how much it differs from the NHS. Is it worth the money? I havent looked into how much it cost, but I can imagine it to be very expensive. Obviously I want my mum to recieve the best care possible so she can fight the battle she got ahead of her.
Thank you.
Sx