In the UK, most people see an NHS GP for health issues, but you can also access private online GPs through a private healthcare policy or work benefit. However, it is not always possible for a GP to assess your condition this way, as they cannot perform a physical examination during a remote appointment. If you are seeking an opinion for something of concern with physical symptoms such as a lump or pain, or you want a second opinion, you may benefit more from a face-to-face private GP appointment.
Read on to find out how to find a private GP, what to expect, and the cost of an appointment.
Private Hospital GP Appointments
Almost all private hospitals provide private GP appointments. The advantage of going to a private hospital for a GP appointment is any diagnostic tests – such as an ultrasound – or referrals to specialists can be arranged within the same hospital. This can help avoid delays in finding a facility to have tests or see a specialist and make the diagnostic process less stressful.
Several companies provide private GP appointments at healthcare clinics. Appointments at clinics tend to be less expensive than at private hospitals as they have much lower overheads. If you are seeking a second opinion and want a more economical option, a healthcare or private GP clinic might be your best option.
Cost of a Private GP Appointment in London
The cost of a private GP appointment will vary, depending on the location, the experience of the GP, the facility, and the time limits applied. Prices for GP appointments at private hospitals in London tend to be slightly higher and typically range between £75 and £120. In other areas of the UK, the cost of a private GP appointment starts from £45.
How long does it take to get a private GP appointment?
You can normally get a private GP appointment on the same day. Many hospitals and healthcare clinics offer appointments in the evening and on Saturdays and Sundays.
Can a private GP access my NHS medical records?
A private GP will not be able to access your NHS records unless you request this, for which you may have to pay a fee to your NHS GP practice.
Will my NHS GP know I have seen a private GP?
Your private GP will ask for your consent to share notes from your appointment. However, if you refuse permission, they are not legally permitted to do so.
How long will my appointment be?
This will depend on where you go; most private GP appointments are limited to 30 minutes. So when you book, you should ask if there is a time limit for your appointment.
Can a private GP make a referral to the NHS?
Private GPs can refer you to an NHS consultant or for diagnostic tests, such as an ultrasound, but you will not jump a “queue”. When a private referral is made, you are put on the same waiting list as someone referred by their NHS GP. Your NHS GP will be copied into the referral and your NHS treatment will not be impacted by your referral route.
What happens if a private GP thinks I need urgent treatment?
When a private GP deems you need urgent treatment, they can refer you to an NHS A&E department. If necessary, they will call for an NHS ambulance to take you to an NHS hospital.
What happens if I see a private GP with a different opinion than my NHS GP?
If your private GP thinks you need to be referred, they can do this regardless of what your NHS GP has said in your medical notes. Your NHS GP can not refuse to follow through with a referral even if they have a differing opinion.