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06:53The NHS Benefits When Patients Use Their Medical Insurance, UK
NHS budgets are under pressure from the ever increasing demand for
hospital services. Many Primary Care Trusts are reporting significant
financial concerns, with cost controls likely to tighten further when
public sector spending is reviewed after the 2010 election. |
In the meantime a significant proportion of privately insured patients are still being admitted or referred to NHS facilities where they are using precious resources and further increasing pressures on public hospital services.
GPs are sometimes not aware that their patients have private insurance or that they may be willing to pay for a health service. Patients are very much influenced by the GP's advice of the best place for them to receive care, and in some cases the GP may not be familiar with the processes for booking private patients into an independent sector facility.
Each time a patient is treated outside of the NHS it frees up funds for others who are waiting for services. It is important that all GPs actively seek out information on their patients' insurance status and understand the treatment options that are available in the community.
Ensuring ease of access for patients with private insurance to private hospitals is an important area for the independent healthcare sector, and something they need to work closely with GPs on. By offering all patients the choice of the independent sector whenever a referral is made, GPs can save public money and ease pressure on NHS waiting times.
To maximise the potential advantages to the NHS in enabling insured patients to access the private sector, independent healthcare group Ramsay Health Care has launched a unique service package for private patients. Premium Care is available to all patients using private medical insurance or funding their own treatment, and aims to set the standard for private healthcare.
Jill Watts, Ramsay's UK Chief Executive Officer, explains the drive behind the product: "Private patients naturally expect good value for money. We believe that Premium Care will encourage patients who have private medical insurance to ask their doctor for a referral to a Ramsay hospital."
The Premium Care package focuses on the areas that patients feel are the most important. These include:
- Early access to a private hospital for diagnosis and treatment
- Choice of Consultant, who will deliver the service personally
- Choice of appointment
- Single room with en-suite facilities (where clinically appropriate)
- Premium Care accommodation and menus
- Premium Care gift
- Free car parking, free television and newspaper
"Every patient coming to a Ramsay hospital, whether private or NHS, receives an excellent standard of clinical and customer care, a friendly local service, low infection rates, and waiting times often shorter than the national NHS guidelines," Jill continues. "But with Premium Care, patients with private medical insurance can go that step further."
Ramsay Health Care
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