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Ramsay Health Care UK | 22/01/2021

What to expect from a stay in a private hospital

If you’ve never visited a private hospital before, you might be wondering what it’s like and how it’s different from an NHS hospital.

While both can offer the highest standards of medical care, a private hospital can provide a more personal and tailored experience, with extra levels of service and comfort, and faster access to appointments and treatments that fit with your schedule.

How do private hospitals work?

A private hospital provides treatment and healthcare services independently of the NHS. Treatment can be covered by medical insurance policies or by paying directly for the treatments you want. A private hospital functions in similar ways to an NHS hospital, though with much more privacy and personal care, and usually much faster.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) in the UK assesses and regulates all hospitals and clinics, including private ones, so you can rest assured that the private hospital you choose has been independently assessed to meet national standards of care at least within the last two years.

What is the difference between private and public hospitals?

The main differences are usually in the level of service and privacy, with private hospitals generally providing a much more relaxing environment, with your own private room and facilities. You’ll also have access to more hotel-like services, with more extensive food options, toiletries, Wi-Fi and more.

A private hospital also provides more space and flexibility for visitors, with fewer restrictions than a public hospital, depending on clinical need.

To help make your stay as pleasant as possible, many hospitals also provide extra services such as hair dressing and beauty, and laundry facilities.

How do I get a private hospital appointment?

You can make an appointment at a private hospital even if you don’t have medical insurance. Simply get in contact with your chosen hospital to make an appointment or find out more about the different payment options. It’s usually possible to get an appointment much quicker than if you want to see a specialist or a GP through the NHS.

Personal services in a private hospital

Private hospitals offer a more personal and private experience, with an emphasis on comfort and a relaxing environment. These are some of the features and facilities you can expect to find:

Your private room

You can recover after treatment or surgery in the comfort of your own private room with en suite facilities, unless this is not clinically appropriate such as if high dependency care is necessary.

Usually your private room will be equipped with a nurse call system, television, radio and direct dial telephone and you’ll be shown how to use these when you arrive. Additionally, you’ll have free Wi-Fi in your room so that you can keep in touch with loved ones as well as surfing the web in your free time on your laptop, tablet or smartphone. All bed linen and towels will be provided, and toiletries are also often supplied too so you don’t need to worry about bringing your own.

Your room will offer you the opportunity to rest and receive visitors in peace, privacy and comfort.

If the treatment is for your child then the room will normally have facilities for a parent to stay overnight with their child.

Dining

Most private hospitals offer a wide range of meals to suit every dietary requirement and these will be delivered directly to your room. You can choose from daily menus or you can discuss your specific needs such as diabetic, gluten-free or Kosher with a member of the team who’ll normally be happy to visit you in your room.

Visitors

Friends and relatives are welcome to visit with few restrictions, subject to medical considerations. They are also welcome to call for information about your progress by speaking to the nurse in charge of your care.

Cleanliness

As you would expect cleanliness is of upmost importance in private hospitals. Cleaning staff work to high specifications of hygiene and cleanliness. They will ensure that your private room is rigorously cleaned daily whilst you are in hospital and between discharge of one patient and the admission of the next. All rooms and areas will also be routinely deep cleaned. The cleaning staffs are normally available 24 hours every day to respond to any need that may arise.

Your private hospital should carry out infection control surveillance. Most independent sector hospitals have a low rate of hospital acquired infection such as MRSA that can be largely apportioned to patients having individual rooms, thorough cleaning regimes and ongoing staff training.

In Patient Services

To ensure your stay is as pleasant as possible, hair dressing, health and beauty services are often available at private hospitals for a small additional charge. Some private hospitals will offer laundry facilities.

Newspapers and magazines can be arranged to be delivered to your room. These may be included in your package depending upon your hospital and package.

Mail and deliveries will be delivered to your door and your private hospital will arrange to send outgoing mail for you if required.

Find out more about what happens during your stay at a Ramsay hospital.

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