Who pays their own wayIn the UK around 800,000 healthcare treatments each year are privately funded, and most of these are for patients who use the NHS for most of their care needs. Most people use private medical insurance to pay for their treatment, but paying for treatment directly is becoming more common. In 2017 around one in four of all private treatments in the UK were self-funded.
Your initial consultationYour consultant will always ask you to come in for an initial consultation before your treatment. The fee for this will vary, but tend to be around £100 to £300. A top expert might charge higher fees. Your consultant is required by law to write to you to set out the fees for the initial consultation. You should get this letter before the appointment. If you are seeing your consultant for an urgent appointment, this information can be provided to you by telephone. You should ask for the fee to be confirmed in writing just so you have a record.
Your consultant may ask you to have diagnostic tests. It is unlikely that any test will be undertaken without a diagnostic charge. The consultant must tell you if there is a fee for any diagnostic tests they do. But if the hospital does a diagnostic test the consultant may not know the fee, so make sure to ask both the consultant and hospital about fees for tests.
Paying for treatmentAfter you’ve met your consultant, they must send you a letter that sets out their fees for any additional diagnostic tests as well as for your treatment.
There are two main ways to pay for your treatment if you choose to self-fund it.
Packaged pricesMany hospitals now offer a packaged price for a treatment, which bundle up things like the consultant’s charges for treatment, hospital care and aftercare charges into one fee.
If you are offered a package price, you might be given a ‘guide’ or ‘indicative’ price to begin with. The fee might change after the consultant has seen you, based on your needs.
Check what is included in the package price. For example, one hospital may include all fees for tests, treatment, follow-up appointments and physiotherapy. Another hospital may not include all of those things, even if you need them, so will charge you fees on top of the package price.
If there are complications during your treatment, and you need to stay in hospital longer than expected this may not be included in the price you have been quoted.
The hospital can talk you through this before you commit to an initial consultation.
Pay per serviceNot all consultants are signed-up to package prices. If your consultant is not, you will be sent invoices for each part of your treatment and the services you use. For example, if you’re having surgery you may be charged separate invoices from:
- your consultant
- the consultant anaesthetist
- the hospital
Consultants feesThe typical fees consultants will charge for an initial consultation, the treatment, and any follow-up consultations can be found on the consultant’s PHIN profile, which you can find using our consultation search.
You can also use our interactive tool to help you understand the typical fees consultants charge in your region, which you can then compare with your consultant’s fees.