An organization that provides health care either through the government machinery or through a private health care apparatus is a health care system.The U.K health care is a working mix of private and public health care. The private health care system evolved from under the shadow of the government NHS. It actually complements the NHS performing services not covered by the NHS, such as abortions, fertility treatments and cosmetic surgery.
The private sector is dominant in the field of psychiatric services, counseling and substance dependency clinics, specialist diagnostic services like MRI, drug screening and forensic services. Services such as long-term care, acute care, PMI and primary care are also covered by private health services. The private health care market provides 15 billion pounds to health services accounting for 21% of all U.K health care expenditure.
People choose private health care over government health care basically because they can afford it and can exercise a choice. The interminable queues for NHS and a waiting list are enough to put off the most patient individual. Anyway access to a waiting list is not access to health care. If one is not satisfied with government health care and if you need a second opinion a private health care physicians are the natural choice.
Typically patients are 'topping up'for a service that is faster and of a quality that suits them. As an example a 46 year old woman with breast cancer had been recommended aggressive chemotherapy after surgery. She wanted to obtain a second opinion from a breast cancer unit involved in leading edge clinical research. She got her opinion by directly paying the consultant 250 pounds.
So also did a 88 year old widow with a severe back ache. For the treatment a MRI scan was required which would take nearly six months at the NHS hospital. The lady got the scan done at the local independent hospital for 480 pounds. She saw her NHS consultant soon after and obtained relief from the pain and is back to her normal duties much earlier than the six months waiting period.
With Private hospitals you can
There are 230 independent private hospitals with more than half managed by the three main providers-General Healthcare Group, Bupa and Nuffield Hospitals. Hospitals in the private sector perform 20% of all non-urgent surgery, one-third of all hip replacements and nearly half of all abortions. The NHS too has 3000 pay beds available, half of them in dedicated private patient wards. Funds come from private medical insurance that accounts for 70% , 25% from direct payments and 5% from treatment funded by NHS.The Brocklebank health clinic situated in South London is an ideal private polyclinic. Private hospital caters to 15000 patients with the help of 13GP's. The surrounding local population frequents the clinic for all standard services. In addition to this, the clinic also has a small operating theatre in the back for minor surgery. Prviate hospital also provides chiropody, speech therapy, family planning and a range of diagnostic services. Private health care is a workable option for a large number of people, without the heartburn caused by delays and waiting lists. It admirably complements the NHS.