Gluten Free Guerrillas
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NHS or Private


My first posting on here. I am hypothyroid and GP thinks I may have Coeliac Disease and I will shortly have a blood test. ( I am still eating gluten)

If It's positive should I then stick with NHS for further tests or go private (I have insurance)?

It would be helpful to know what you think are the advantages / disadvantages of each route. Many thanks.

9 Replies

We have a similar dilemma.. Have been waiting 2 months for consultant appointment and just been told it could be another 6-12 weeks!


Hi PaddyJ,

Whilst not perfect, overall I found the NHS very good. I could quite cheerfully have strangled the GP's secretary who forgot to refer me to a gastrologist following the positive blood results (it wasn't until I phoned to chase up why I had heard nothing two weeks later, the mistake came to light).

That said, the hospital side of things went much more smoothly. My nearest local hospital had no appointments for about 10 weeks (that was too long to wait IMO!); but I am very fortunate in that I am within striking distance of a number of other hospitals in my area. Because I was willing to travel a little further afield, I only had to wait about two weeks to be seen for the first time.

Unfortunately I then had to delay having the endoscopy for a week due to being struck down by a chest infection. However once the endoscopy was completed, I had the results of it 10 days later. The staff at the QE in Birmingham were brilliant and the easy availability of appointments there made life so much easier.

My guess is that going Private may speed up the whole process a little. I can't comment on whether the quality of care would be any better though.

Not sure how relevant this is, however I can say that I used all the time between the blood test (which was a slight shock at the time because I didn't think it would come back positive) and the endoscopy, to get my head around the fact that there were some foods I would probably never be able to eat again if the coeliac diagnosis was confirmed.

So in hindsight, the delays I had were probably an advantage because during that period I made sure I ate old favourites like Maltesers, kitkats and jam donuts etc for the last time. That meant I had no unfinished business with such gluten containing foods.

It also gave me a chance to run my stocks of gluten food down at home so I didn't have to bin them all (still binned and gave away enough!).

But it wasn't all hunky dorey, I was feeling unwell so in the end it was a relief to get the endoscopy over with so I could stop eating the gluten.

Good luck with your decision, I hope you get the answers you need from it.


I was not diagnosed unti age of 62 and have nothing but good things to say about NHS


Between blood test and endoscopy was only a natter of week, and result 2wks later. Keep eating gluten until tests, and I cant praise NHS enough, but it's you choice whether to go private or not, You might get seen quicker, but all the rest is the same. Good Luck


Thankyou everyone for your thoughts. You've given me a lot to consider.


Hi PaddyJ

I was in the same situation as you a year ago. I opted to use a medical policy which meant everything happened really quickly. Appointment with specialist within 5 days of getting blood tests results from GP, endosocopy a week after that and the results a week after that. I think the only disadvantage could be with follow up care. I don't get any care or follow up in an nhs clinic because I have never officially been on their books and the consultant completely lost interest when he realised the policy I had only paid for diagnosis. Your policy may be different so it may pay to read the small print before you claim. The issue of followup care differs around the country so it may pay to do some research to see whether you could be offered something on the NHS which you may miss out on if you go private. Some people get a follow up endosocopy after a year on the NHS to check their gut is healing but again this is not countrywide.

The other disadvantage is the excess mine was £100.00 and the fact that I was expected to fund my own bone density scan £160.00, so the costs can rack up quite quickly.

Overall I'm glad I got the whole thing over and done with fairly quickly and it was quite advantageous that I didn't have to stuff lots of gluten for weeks. It's amazing how quickly you can go off something when you find out it's doing you harm.

Good luck with whatever you decide.



I was referred by my GP to see a gastro because they couldn't work out what was wrong with me (my blood tests are antibody negative). The consultant that I see works both privately and for the NHS. I see him privately because I have bupa cover and it meant that I could get an appointment much faster. I have seen him 3/4 times now which is racking up quite a charge (about £150 per consultation, and £70 for blood tests) so I'd check your limits on your policy. Endoscopy is classed as inpatient so comes from. A different pot of money on my scheme. My consultant however is very good & has said that he will see me as an NHS patient if needed so you might be lucky enough to find someone similar. I'd have a chat with your GP, mine gave me the names of 3 consultants that he would prefer me to see the one I'm with being his top choice.

As for what will happen when / if I get a formal diagnosis, I don't know. But if the bone scan & check ups are not covered by my bupa policy I will ask my doctor for an NHS referral.

Good luck with everything!


Happy with NHS From blood test to endoscopy only 3 weeks and gave us the diagnosis straight after procedure. My daughter was only 14 don't know if it would have been longer if an adult xxx


If you can cut the time from initial blood test -> gastro appointment -> referral for biopsy (endoscopy) you will be really glad. The time from my blood test to biopsy was over 6 months of hell. BUT I would ask the doctor if they would be happy with you using your insurance to have the tests as they sometimes seem a bit spiteful!


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