the private sector

has anybody in the north west of england accessed diagnosis and or treatment within the private sector,i am interested in at least a high imaging ct scan of my chest/lungs and a consultation with a pulmonary specialist just to establish a baseline of where my copd actually is and how best to manage it.i now this may sound a bit drastic for some out there who may well have recieved a very good service from their local nhs providers but i feel it may be a route i could go given my lack of faith in the system.i have done a little research but most of the obvious candidates are in london.

Please don,t get me wrong i am just a working class guy with a small occupational pension and a bit of savings and not some body snatching privalliged oligarch out to purchase body bits in order to live forever

32 Replies

Hi, I went on the NHS when first being diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer in 2008, I chose to have my surgery removal of half my lung done privately at the Alexandra Hospital Cheadle Stockport. It was ok, things happened quicker no long waiting for procedures and results. So yes, I would recommend going private if you can.


my wife Cecilia had a upper left lobectomy on biopsy discovery of non small cell lung cancer in hospital under the NHS.unfortunately she suffered a catostrophic stroke 6 weeks later which i am convinced may have been a result of that procedure as clots are associated with surgical procedures,unfortunately a local registrar determined that it was a waking stroke and not within the 4 hour hope window consequentley she festered in her local hospital for 4 days and suffered 80% damage to her left hemishere leaving her unable to talk walk read or write and with many dysphasia problems which eventually together we managed to overcome only for her to succumb to unmanaged ipf 3 years later.i am sorry that i have used you as a vehicle to vent my frustration with the NHS and thank you for your advice

Hi I understand how you must feel as 9 weeks ago I went into a NHS Hospital and had a lung biopsy under local anaesthetic so I was aware what was going on. After they had finished I went in to cardiac arrest and then woke up in a special unit with paralysis down my left side, they told me that I had a mini stroke a TIA stroke, so I stayed in hospital for 2days they wanted me in for 5days but there was a shortage of beds so I went home, my husband and myself were so worried in case it happened again. I had to have 3 heart test on seperate occasions, I have only just got the results back which I'm glad to say are normal, so my heart is healthy but it was the procedure which brought the cardiac arrest on and TIA stroke. I still have to go on a cancer drug for the lung cancer. I do feel that I had to keep chasing after them for my results. I will still go for a second opinion to see a cardiologist. So I went in for the lung biopsy and came out with a stroke and cardiac arrest. I am now having to take a blood thinning tablets for the rest of my life as well as the cancer drug. It's put me off going in for lung biopsy for the rest of my life.


There are plenty of BUPA Private

thanks stone i am aware of who is out there like bupa but looking for people who have actually used organisations and the outcomes of there experiences.but aways appreciate people like yourself who are onhand to help and advise


Point of interest, before I retired Asbestos remover.

I had a health check every two years, spirometer test and x-ray. X-rays where stopped as being invalid in early detection of asbestos related condition. This was done by a private GP. The test and results where no different than the ones I received from my own GP. The only difference was earlier appointment and cost £170 for spirometer test, that was seven years ago.

Morning Skischool

I have just messaged you and then I saw your post. I have had two private consultations in trying to establish dx. I have also had 3 Echocardiograms done privately but not a scan. It has proved a very mixed bag. One consultation was absolutely dreadful. An appalling, scandalous waste of money. One was very useful and achieved what I needed: a recommendation that I should be on Warfarin. He wrote to my GP and that was put in place. A great relief as I knew that I should never have come off it.

But I have very ambivalent feelings about going down that route and I won't again. In my opinion the best doctors, and I have two excellent consultants now, are too busy with their NHS patients to have the time for private ones. And how do you go about choosing who to see? The private hospitals put out glowing testimonials. Well, they would, wouldn't they?

Sorry, that may not help.

We are not far from you, Yorkshire. I think there are plenty of good doctors in the North. We have the benefit of large cities with good teaching hospitals. But I agreed, getting the right one can be hit and miss.


Hi Kate. An interesting point about when things go wrong in private hospitals, which they do, is that you usually get transferred back to the NHS as the privates ones often don't have the means to cope when things don't go well. This happened with a friend of mine after breast cancer operation and I've read about it with others too.

You can of course get a good service from private hospitals but a lot of it is show, e.g. lovely decor, extra courteous personnel. And of course you skip NHS waiting lists. But I would always go with the NHS.

I don't know if you remember my story, I posted about it a while ago. My hip replacement operation was an NHS one done in the private sector. I was appalled but assumed that it would be done to the same standards as in the NHS. But no. I was not given adequate thromboprophylaxis, (I would in the NHS) got PEs as a result and the rest is history...

And there is no obligation on the part of the private hospitals to acknowledge these failures as there is in the NHS.

I know it is subject close to your heart (and in my case, literally).

Kate xxx

P.S. The NHS has had to pay out thousands of pounds to deal with failure of that hospital in my case. I try to tell them to send the bill to those responsible....

"And there is no obligation on the part of the private hospitals to acknowledge these failures as there is in the NHS." EXACTLY!!! And although they are inspected they really don't seem to be held to the same standards of accountability. Of course I remember your story Kate. Im so sorry that happened to you.

For my bronchiectasis I have found that the private sector is useless. And I should know I have had it for 64 years. They don't have the excellent diagnostic equipment that large teaching hospitals do, the dedicated respiratory departments with tecnitians who spend every day dealing with tests for different aspects of lung conditions and most importantly the consultants who specialise in your paricular condition. Many respiratory specialists who practice in the private sector are general respiratory doctors and certainly in the case of bronch, do not have expertise in a particular area. Newcastle ( I know that it is on the other side of the country) has an excellent respiratory research department. I also believe that Liverpool is also a centre of excellence. Do your homework, find a consultant at a large teaching and reseach centre and demand a referral. I am not saying any of this from an ideological point of view as I have used the private sector many times for other health issues, but from experience of living with a chronic lung condition.I hope that you find somebody and get a definitive dx.

Hello Skischool, I have had more than one private doctors report in respect of my working capability, all done in a private consultation at a cost. One Bupa report was only done by a GP not a consultant and no action was taken by NHS in respect of a problem found, a private blood test said I was diabetic when infact I am not. Another one by a GP found the same as the Bupa report but still no action by NHS. I live in the Midlands by the way. The private sector works in conjunction with the NHS , some doctors even work in both sectors. In general the private sector only give second opinions often similar to the first opinion, with a costly price tag. It is quicker if you are seriously ill and less clinic style consultations. I like you would love an independant assessment of my health status and how to manage it in future, but as a pensioner cost is relevant for investigation of an ongoing chronic illness especially due to the chance of poor outcome as in the past. Plus often if you go for private screening you end up with having lots of tests you maybe don't need and you still need your GPs referral and they get notified of all results. Consider this route carefully would be my advice as you may not get the outcome you wish. i.e to establish the full details in respect of a lung condition. Best Wishes no matter what you decide to do.

As far as managing your COPD is concerned, once you have a proper dx your consultant or GP can put you forward for Pulmonary Rehabilitation classes. I don't qualify because I have bronch but those who have attendedsay that this is the best thing that they did.

At my last PR course there was a woman with bronchiectasis - the only lung condition she had - so Im surprised you don't qualify littlepom. Seems there are regional variations.

There definitely are O2trees! I live in Warwickshire where my GPs surgery have never heard of it. I attend clinic at the QE in Bham. Every time they wheel out a new physio they promise to get me on a course. Nothing comes of it. I don't need the breathing or lifestyle advice because I had years of it as a child but it would be nice to do the exercises with other people.

What a shame, really not fair. Do you point out that others with bronch are referred by other PR services?

I grew up in Knowle and my father was a frequent in-patient (lupus) at the QE.

I live in the West Midlands have bronch and have been on two courses at the hospital. The lady that I palled up with there also had bronch all her life.

Forgot to say I was referred by Consultant at hospital. My husband has copd was referred by his gp.

yes I believe it's very much post code driven. Although I have been with the QE for 30 years it seems that I cannot access any of Birmingham's patient services because I live in Warwickshire. I have asked my Warwickshire practice until I am fed up for PR ( I am also on the PPG) and they just look blankly at me. It's good that you have managed to be referred. I am just carrying on as I have always done, DVDs for pilates and yogalates at home and I have just started going to T'ai Chi classes nearby. I don't need breathing advice because I had weekly physio for years as a child.

Try Warwick Hospital they run courses.

thanks clematis. I am seeing Dr Crooks there next month. Maybe he can get me on one.

If you want to go private I would suggest the Nuffield or BMI hospitals ring round and get advice from your local area

Try the Nuffield Hospitals.

Care Quality Commission inspects hospitals - you can put any hospital (or other care facility) into their search box and check out whichever hospital you are interested in.

Hello ski school, this is what I am interested in also. Like you I am not sitting on pots of money & looking for lung/s transplant. Just want to know exactly what is going on in my chest rather than wait for annual spirometry test & how often exacerbations have occurred to determine progression at which point that progression can't be reversed. I live at the top of Derbyshire between Sheffield & Manchester. Very interested to follow your progress on this.

I must admit that I feel the same. I've even considered buying my own spirometer but I think I could become obsessed. If only ct scans didn't carry so much attendant radiation. My resp consultant told me that mri's are no good for lungs when I asked him to refer me for a private one.

I was diagnosed privately with IPF had CT scan privately but the consultant said there is nothing I can do for you , I asked him how long have I got he said he had no idea as some people with this disease go down hill quick and some last for ages, my insurer's said they would pay for any tests but not treatments as there is no cure. The consultant said cease the private health and he would keep an eye on me every 6 months on the NHS.

I went privately for my initial appointment- it wasn't intentional but the referral went to the wrong hospital by mistake so I decided to go to the Nuffield for speed. I had already had 2 ct scans on the NHS via rheumatology and perhaps this is where things went wrong for me . .

My 'referral' consisted of a crumpled fax from my Rheumy. I had 50 minutes of talking to the consultant, a handheld spirometry test and then had to stand up and sit down repaeatedly until I was out of breath - that is the sum total of technical equipment that could be offered by him at the Nuffield. From my account and these 'extensive' tests he diagnosed me with 'possible' cardiomyopathy, 'possible' pericarditis, 'possible' asthma, and 4 other potentially life threatening diseases. He then decided that I had malnutrition because I am a veggie . . .

He promised to look at my scans and notes when back that afternoon at the NHS hospital but, alas, after he dictated the letter of nothingness, he forgot all about me. I politely waited a couple of months before nudging him and I then found myself on the end of a waiting list for echo, ECG, PFT's etc which ultimately dispelled all of his possible diagnoses.

My experience is coloured by my naivety. You may need to do lots of corresponding and organising to make sure that you get the best from both systems. The cost to me, back in 2012/13 was £270 for the appointment but for me, it was money totally wasted.

Horrible tale, but I am not surprised.

If I had my time over I would definitely go private to get a CT scan. It took 3 years to get one out of NHS. 3 years of illness, 5 x pneumonia, endless infections and antibiotics. I endured seeing a ghastly, rude Professor/Consultant twice before refusing to see him again. He dismissed my GP letters ("GPs don't know what they're talking about, they're useless"). He addressed my breasts, not my face vile man.

I always saw a lovely registrar until she moved on. The first thing she did was arrange a CT. which proved I don't have copd, showed all the previous damage and small airways disease. That ct is imprinted on my brain so if I ever have another I'll see the difference.

for some obscure reason i have missed all these responses,thank you for your input Anyway i have finally managed to get a referal to wythenshaw hospital which has a very good reputation for dealing with all lung related diseases unlike my own local hospital.unfortunatey it is not untill late july.My local long terms respitory team are still trying to get thier act together to arrange an assessment for ambulatory o2.they are quite content for me to carry out normal exertion whilst sats are in the low 70,s because they bounce back quite quickly.the fact that i am in a supposedly not compensatory metabolically alkolosis state after recent cbg,s does,nt appear to cause much concern with them,maybe i should supp the odd glass of hydrochloric acid to get them hydrogen ions down a bit and balance out my PH.Enough scientific*t for now.Still enjoying the odd glass of wine.The cat is getting fatter and i even managed a trip to the Spanish consulate in london today to sort out my affairs.The place was absolutely full of Manuel type characters doing nothing slowly with great precision.Wonderfull good day out.long drive home to to all.Keep breathing deeply

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