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Switching from Private to NHS care

User
Posted 25 Jan 2021 at 17:49

I was diagnosed with low volume Gleason 7 prostate cancer 18 months ago and have subsequently been on active surveillance - details in my profile. Diagnosis and treatment so far has all been through the private route thanks to the health insurance provided by my employer.

I'm now taking early(ish) retirement and so the employer funded insurance comes to an end. I can continue with the insurance, but they quote around £6,000/year to provide cover for my "pre-existing condition" and that's a lot, probably rather more than the costs of the active surveillance.  I *could* self-fund. Is it worth it?

Does anyone have experience of switching out of private and into NHS treatment during AS? Any advice, pointers, information all gratefully received.

If it makes any difference, I'm living in central London (City) within a short distance of Barts and within walking distance of Guys as well. UCLH is just a couple of stops on the Tube.

Thanks!

User
Posted 25 Jan 2021 at 22:42
Transfer to the NHS list, put the £6k per year in the bank and if you have issues in the future like wanting a particular scan that isn't easily accessible, you can just pay for it.
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 26 Jan 2021 at 00:47

Patients are allowed to mix private and NHS treatments, and the NHS is required to work with this, share test results, etc.

This wasn't always the case.

Consultants are not permitted to refer to private procedures during NHS consultations unless the patient specifically asks. If you are interested to hear about private procedures, make this known.

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User
Posted 25 Jan 2021 at 21:24

Hi, I was on private healthcare through work, Gleason 9 so not AS like you  but I had to change to nhs as the insurer would only cover “life extending” drugs for one year and I was about to start abiraterone . 5 years on and I am still on that drug so glad I went nhs. ( the insurer would now fund btw).

the differences imho from a quality cancer hospital :-

i no longer get free tea and biscuits

blood tests are a cheese counter queue rather than seen at once

my appointments (pre covid) were often delayed by 15 minutes or so nhs but on time private

my appointments were a bit quicker on the nhs

there was a nurse taking notes private, nhs the doc does it

i see a different onco from month to month but if I ask I can see the same onco I saw privately (that’s what I do) , I may have to wait an extra 10 minutes.

the treatment remains top quality now just slightly delayed sometimes.

the only reason I would want to have the private option would be if there were approved drugs available for cancer but not funded by the nhs, that has been the case historically with some however if you pay for your policy every year how many years can you afford to pay ? 

Personally the nhs is fine for me, the other advantage of private is that the hospital makes a bit out of it so in a small way anyone private is helping fund some of the shortfall in government funding. 

There are probably more arguments but this is how I have seen it .

Edited by member 25 Jan 2021 at 21:25  | Reason: Not specified

Dream like you have forever, live like you only have today Avatar is me doing the 600 mile Camino de Santiago May 2019

User
Posted 25 Jan 2021 at 21:33
I had all my cancer surgery and RT through my work-funded private medical insurance, and then took early retirement, so my medical insurance came to an end for my follow-up treatment. It was a seamless transition. My urologist and oncologist both transferred me from their private to their NHS lists, and all my follow-up appointments happened exactly as normal.

Best wishes,

Chris

User
Posted 25 Jan 2021 at 22:10

I have had no experience of private treatment at all. 

What I would say is that my NHS treatment at least pre-covid, has been excellent. Cancer seems to have a high political profile so there are timeframes things have to be done by.

I've only spent one night in hospital on an NHS ward, I can't say I liked it, so maybe private would have helped then. 

I have heard people say active surveillance has to be "done properly" so that implies some organisations are not good at this, maybe a lack of joined up thinking. I can certainly believe this would be possible in a bureaucracy like the NHS but I have no evidence for that. 

Private may fund some treatments that NHS wouldn't. Someone on here was recently quoted £13,000 for HIFU. I don't think I would like forking out £6,000 a year, I would prefer put the money in the bank and pay for my treatment if it were only £13,000 even if it needed to be repeated every couple of years. 

 

Dave

User
Posted 25 Jan 2021 at 22:42
Transfer to the NHS list, put the £6k per year in the bank and if you have issues in the future like wanting a particular scan that isn't easily accessible, you can just pay for it.
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 26 Jan 2021 at 00:47

Patients are allowed to mix private and NHS treatments, and the NHS is required to work with this, share test results, etc.

This wasn't always the case.

Consultants are not permitted to refer to private procedures during NHS consultations unless the patient specifically asks. If you are interested to hear about private procedures, make this known.

User
Posted 26 Jan 2021 at 08:18
Useful responses, thanks.

I will tell the insurance salesperson that I plan to invest elsewhere :-)

User
Posted 26 Jan 2021 at 08:38

Dave, as an aside you mentioned getting better hospital treatment as a private patient than an NHS patient. I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, found "accidentally" (thank goodness) while I was having MRI scans for prostate cancer. I had to have my left kidney removed as a result of this.

I was a private patient in Arrowe Park hospital on the Wirral; they use their operating theatres for private work at the weekends. The hospital has no private rooms, though, so I was in an NHS urology ward and treated exactly the same as any NHS patient.

Going private doesn't necessarily get you treatment that's any different to that of an NHS patient.

When I had my prostate cancer RT I was a private patient at Clatterbridge which does have a private clinic as a part of the NHS cancer hospital. Same RT machines as the NHS patients, but a comfy waiting room with leather armchairs rather than plastic chairs, and the nurse brings you your water on a tray with a pretty doily rather than having to get it yourself from a machine. The bill to my insurance company for my RT was £24,000. Is a comfy chair and waitress service worth £24k? You decide 😁.

Best wishes,

Chris

 

Edited by member 26 Jan 2021 at 08:45  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 26 Jan 2021 at 10:41
Barry, just click the “Edit” button below the post and delete the empty lines. Did you originally write your message in a word processor and copy and paste it here?

Best wishes,

Chris

 
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