British Heart Foundation

Seeking a private consultation

Hi I wonder if anybody can help in giving advice about getting an appointment quicker by paying privately l. My mum had a heart attack last November she was in hosoital five weeks and had a cabg x3. Recovery has been very slow constantly tired and breathless walking a short difference stairs ect. She has started cardii rehab but due to her fitness levels and mobility is very limited. She has been to her gp who did a chest xray nothing has come back and says might be her medication as no pain nothing to worry about will write to the hospital but it may be months till she is seen. My concern is her gps missed the signs of her coronary disease before fibbing her off as stomach acid and stress. Si has anybody paid for a consultation privately and would you need a referral first from gp?

19 Replies
oldestnewest

Hi there, sorry to hear of your mother's problems. You can go either way, see your GP for a referral or try a local private hospital. As I understand it a referral will allow access to the medical records not sure how going direct does this but I'm sure there will be others here who can advise. Bear in mind it's still early days for your mother and depending on how well she was before may take a while yet for recovery to kick in.

Good luck Mark

Reply

Thanks fir your reply Mark. Yes I know its early days and I dont think it helps that she is not keeping active enough been told by rehab to walk 30 minutes a day which she wont be able to do. I just dont have much faith in the gp surgery as they missed the signs before my worry is her heart bypass has failed because she shouldnt be feeling so breathless it seems to have gotten worse so not sure its her medication.

Reply

Some of her medication may be the cause of her breathlessness. Have a look at all the leaflets, fully get the gp part but there are alternatives to all the meds she is on and these can be changed

Reply

I had concerns that my condition was deteriorating rapidly so chose to see a cardiac surgeon privately. My cardiologist supported this but I had to have a referal letter from my GP, which was fine. Images and reports were requested by my chosen surgeon but I had to chase these up to ensure they were available for my appointment. Tests were also arranged on my appointment day which were chargeable in addition to the consultation fee. I was able to agree a provisional date for surgery and most importantly, take control of the process which I felt I had lost. So money well spent. Also probably brought things forward by a couple of months. Hope that helps gemstar82.

Reply

Thank you. What tests did you have on the day? Did you then have have the surgery on the nhs. Do you mind me asking how much the tests and consultation was?

Reply

Hi gemstar82. Happy to help. Had a chest x ray, ECG and Spirometry to test lung function. Consultation was £250 which I believe is fairly standard,plus the same again for the 3 tests. Could not stretch to the £20k+ for private surgery to replace my Aortic valve so went on my chosen surgeons NHS list. Saw him mid Feb with the op undertaken personally by him happening at the end of April. Result! (Still v. scary though).

Reply

Thank you Ian you have been very helpful. She had a xray of chest a couple of weeks ago and nothing come back. I think we are going to have to go down this route as we dont want to be waiting months for an appointment back at the hospital.

Reply

If you are paying yourself, i.e. without an insurance company, then you can just make the appointment - you do not need a GP referral. You just need to find your local private hospital website, pick a cardiologist and make the appointment. It should come in around £150-200 for the consultation. Whatever happens after that is up to you.

Steve

1 like
Reply

When I had to wait ages for my first NHS Cardiac Appt I deciceded to go quicker, and went privately. It was a disaster. Cost £600 for 2 appointments and an echocardiogramme. He said there was nothing wrong with my heart.

3 weeks later I has a heart attack, and 5 stents.

There was no coordination of information, either way.

Not sure if I was just v unlucky, but I wouldnt do it again.

1 like
Reply

Not good. My mums doctor has advised her against it saying it will be a lot of money and they wont have access to her notes. They said they have found a chest infection in mu mums xray but I am not convinced as she has no symptoms of a infection. My mums heart problems were not picked up when she went to a&e a month before she had her heart attack.

Reply

I had an AVR done privately. Was referred to private consultant by my doctor. £180 each time I see him. The operation cost £20,000 in January 2018. I chose this path because the waiting list was at least 6 months and I was classified as severe. I asked the consultant what severe meant. In an ideal world you should have you op tomorrow but the NHS has a very long waiting list and you may not survive. I decided to borrow the money. Asking when the op could be done the reply was” At your convenience “ It was done a month later on the 7th Jan 2018. I’m on my 2nd week of rehab. My recovery is progressing well. You’ve had excellent replies on the technical side. I hope this helps on the money side. Phil Garner

Reply

Thanks for your reply. My mum would not be able to afford surgery privately but consultations and tests. She was lucky after her heart attack she had to only wait two weeks in hospital for a bypass. Her gp has put her off seeking a private appointment.

Reply

I have to say I think your surgeon was exploiting you. NHS surgery is supposed to be within 18 weeks - yes, it's often later now, but there are plenty of examples here of people who were judged to need urgent surgery who were kept in hospital and operated on. Patients are only referred for valve replacement if their stenosis is severe and if they have symptoms, so ' severe' doesn't mean a lot. Everybody is severe! If he thought you wouldn't survive the wait (very unlikely) he should have brought your surgery forward on the NHS, not frightened you onto his private list. Glad it all went well though. Enjoy rehab!

I do think though that it can be useful in some circumstances to have a private appointment with the consultant whose NHS list you want to be put on, particularly if you have a lot of questions. £250 seems to be the going rate. I don't think it sounds useful though for gemstar82's mother, where I think GP is the way to go - and phone the BHF nurses for advice. Hope she improves soon - it's early days.

1 like
Reply

Thanks for your observation. You are very wrong about me being exploited. My diagnosis was in Nov. The medics are only now seeing people on the list from last Aug. A friend of mine has just died whilst waiting. It is mis-leading of you to presume how my case has been handled. Are you a doctor? I get fed up of armchair experts who have had no experience of the present system. Tell your theory to the widow of my friend and their children. I’m sure they will appreciate your comments. If you have paid £250 for a private consultation it is you that has been exploited. I had all my tests done on the NHS. The results showed severe stenosis and calcification. Breathing was very laboured. The only way I could be get into an NHS hospital was to have a heart attack. Your reply shows you have no experience of the system.

2 likes
Reply

I think your reply is unnecessarily unpleasant - I wasn't blaming you, I was blaming your surgeon, and if the situation was as you say I think it was even more disgraceful.

I have plenty of experience of the NHS and while there have been delays and the present lack of funding has made things harder I have found doctors take great care to prioritise urgent cases. It is a shame your hospital was so poor, and your friend's death is a real tragedy. However it is not characteristic of the NHS system as a whole.

2 likes
Reply

If you think my reply was unpleasant why did you be so provocative in your response. Waiting times in all hospitals in England have been extended due to the winter crisis. You appear not to understand the system. It took me 5 weeks to see an NHS consultant. After this consultation I was put on the waiting list. We checked other NHS hospitals. All had a similar waiting to mine. Some a little better Cambridge had a 12 month waiting list. Due to pressure on the system people are dying of heart attacks before they can have an op just like my good friend. Had he been taken in before this he would most likely have lived.The consultant that gave me all the facts said it was my choice but they were my options. I am 75. Some people of my age have been refused the op because they are not fit enough to survive it. My uncle is not fit enough for example. My intention in my reply was to give the lady some facts,not opinions. I took exception to you slagging off a professional, whom you didn’t know neither knew the full history nor know what has happened in the NHS this winter. Aortic Stenosis plus heart disease plus calcification in my case was classified as severe. You are mistaken in your assertions. If you are offended with my reply it would be useful if you would seek more information from the person you have criticised before slagging off his medical team.

I spend a great deal of time I Spain. My wife is a Travel Writer. Their health system is far better than ours as is most of Western Europe. If you want an opinion rather than fact our taxes should be doubled as our population is increasing by 200,000 a year. We do not have enough specialists to cope. Many people are opting for private health care. I had my own chef and catering staff. A private en-suite room with TV plus visitors whenever I wanted. Hospital fees £15,000 Surgeon fees £4000, Anaesthetist £1000. I have no regrets. In 2 weeks time my wife and I can start travelling again. We don’t own a house just a small motorhome. Yes you cheesed me off with your naive reply. I hope I have explained the reality of my situation.

1 like
Reply

My post was not provocative, and I have not criticised your decision - anyone is free to choose private healthcare over the NHS. I am glad you were pleased with it.

My point remains: if your consultant thought you would not survive the wait he should have put you on his urgent NHS list; conversely if he thought you would be OK to wait he should have said so. This is not 'slagging off'!

I do not consider aggressive posts are appropriate on this forum.

Goodbye and good luck with your recovery.

2 likes
Reply

Not quite an apology but close. People who are recovering from a major op are in a very fragile state. It is not just me that was upset by your reply. I wish you all the best in your recovery and maybe this little fracas will make you think what you write in the future. I accept you didn’t mean to cause offence but you did. At least you know my name and I don’t hide behind an Avatar. Have fun. You relieved some of the boredom for which I thank you. Kind Regards, Phil

Reply

I don’t live in the UK! The stories here of waiting 18 months or more for NHS is appealing to me. As an outsider, reading post after post...it looks like a gamble that the older patients will die while waiting, so we don’t have to deal with them!

I’ve been in health care as a PT in nursing homes, hospitals, and home health for 20 years before retiring! I moved from the U.S. who wants to simulate the European system!

And I read of this system being “acceptable”, and Normal”...??? Sounds like a really good brain washing job to me. I’ve got to get off here, because what little help I get, is so laiste with these horror stories of THE system, private pay costs (only available to wealthy) that it upsets me more than ever!

I’ve got a new,pacemaker that’s only used in European co7ntries....so, I thought I could get opinions! My empathy, reading here, gives me more stress than I can handle. I left the U.S. as my husband was told....”there’s NO MORE” we can do! He lived free of chemo and medication for 3more years, and died in his own bed, with affordable doctors and duress coming to his bed, oxygen in the last, and home delivered prescriptions! SO much more humane!

We used the Socialist hospital and affordable private doctors. I won’t go back to The States, nor will I try out Europe now! I will die in this simple country, where I’m treated like a human being. “Googling” answers (which has its own bias) and at least, being responsible for myself. Getting the attention of a private specialist is one call to his cell phone....because he has no secretary....no one to go through and wait for appointment!

Yes the socialist can be a wait, while they triage the severity of conditions to be seen....I’ve heard up to one month....but for ER cardiology....it’s pretty much instant! Oh! And you need family or,s9meone whocan speak Spanish with you, unless you’re good at Charades! Which I’ve done before.

CIO.....and I hope this is taken as a mirror, through which an outsider sees your system, which has scared me to death!

Reply

You may also like...