Choosing a Private Surgeon
How do you find a good private surgeon?
One benefit of seeking private healthcare is the ability to choose your consultant surgeon. But how do you choose between the ones you do find?
Ask your GP
Depending on your insurer you may require a referral from your GP before you can seek a review or receive treatment from a private surgeon. Thus your GP is a good place to start when seeking a private consultant and they will be able to recommend the most appropriate specialist for your condition. You do not have to heed your GP's recommendation, but bear in mind they will often know the local private consultants.
Medical insurer direction
It is important you familiarise yourself with your private medical insurance policy as many will have restrictions regarding your choice of private consultants; some insurance policies limit your choice to 2-3 local private consultants. Should you elect to seek treatment from a private surgeon not recommended by your insurance company then they may not cover the full cost of your treatment.
Word of mouth
Very often we are not alone in suffering from a particular ailment and can find that friends and relatives have suffered with the same condition and also sought out private healthcare: ask them about their experiences and whether or not they would recommend their surgeon.
How do you know if a private surgeon is good?
Whether or not you are paying directly for your treatment or through a private medical insurance policy, private healthcare is expensive and you should quite rightly expect your surgeon to provide you with the highest standard of care. However, we have all read and heard of horror stories in the newspapers so how do you ensure you are picking the right surgeon? 1) Check their qualifications: •All surgeons should be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) •Are they a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS). •Are they a member of the Vascular Society of Great Britain & Ireland (VSGBI)? 2) Check their experience & outcomes: •Most private vascular surgeons are NHS vascular surgeons who undertake private practice. Find out which NHS hospital your surgeon works in and check their outcomes on the UK National Vascular Register (NVR) (The National Vascular Registry is a UK national clinical audit commissioned by the Health Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) to measure the quality of care for patients who undergo vascular procedures in NHS hospitals) •Do they work at a University Hospital? oHave they undertaken research on the condition? oHave they published scientific papers on the condition? oHave they delivered lectures to learned societies on the condition? oAre they recognised surgical trainers or Royal College of Surgeons examiners? 3) Check their reputation: •Ask friends and family if they have heard of the surgeon you have chosen. •Ask your GP; poor reputations travel fast within the medical profession which equally has a long memory. •Search for the surgeon on the internet.