Getting an NHS GP appointment nowadays has become something of a lottery, with many patients forced to wait weeks to see a doctor in person, and countless others feeling as if they’re being short-changed and misdiagnosed through telephone consultations that feel rushed and haphazard.
Then, when you finally do get an appointment to see a GP, it’s often a locum doctor who has no previous knowledge of you and your patient history.
With difficulties recruiting new doctors, many NHS GP practices are running themselves ragged trying to keep up with demand, and sadly, they are mostly failing. So what’s the solution?
Private GP practices
While NHS GP appointments may be few and far between, there has been a steady growth in the number of GPs opting to work privately, and a growing stream of patients now choosing private practices, such as this one: https://wegetyoufound.co.uk/listings/broadgate-general-practice/london/family-practice-physician, over the NHS.
While a trip to see a private doctor doesn’t come for free (since you can’t use the money you pay into the NHS every month for alternative healthcare providers), many find it worth it to get the appointment they need, when they need it.
Prices vary according to the length of the appointment and the practice you choose to visit, and should you require any tests, these will be chargeable. When it comes to prescriptions, these must be paid for in full (the cost of the medication plus the pharmacy’s charge), and if your private GP asks to see a copy of your NHS records, you will need to provide this at your own expense.
On the plus side…
If you need to see a GP urgently, or even just need to see one with a general inquiry, the majority of private clinics will be able to offer you an appointment that very same day.
Your appointment likely won’t feel so rushed (consultations are offered at a minimum of 15 minutes), and because locums are never used, there’s a high possibility that you’ll see the same doctor every time you visit the clinic, which works wonders for promoting continuity of care.
With fewer funding constraints, private GPs are able to arrange tests far quicker than their NHS counterparts, which can be crucial in terms of arriving at a diagnosis of a serious condition; in some instances, it can even be lifesaving.
Additionally, patients of a private family practice physician in London can typically access a wide range of travel medical services and private medicals, not to mention health screening, something that the NHS is simply unable to offer its patients.
If the NHS isn’t able to meet your medical requirements due to unavoidable constraints, or you like the idea of continuity of care plus access to a wider range of medical services, visiting a local, private GP, could provide the answer.
Even if you can’t afford to use a private GP for every consultation, or simply don’t want to use them for every medical issue that you have, why not supplement the service offered by the NHS with those of private practice, as and when you need to?
Ultimately, your health is what matters, and what price can you put on that?