Held to ransome

Could anyone tell me why you still need a doctors referral to have private medical tests done? If I am paying for it I should be able to get it done at a hospital or clinic that supplies the test for payment, after all it saves the NHS money. It is a weird system that favours doctors not patients. Second opinions are the same, your doctors not likely to send you to someone whose going to contradict the original opinion, now are they !! So although the NHS is cash straped we still have to get a doctors referral to pay for our own tests, so much for modernising the system.

7 Replies

  • I'm not doctor, but there four main issues/realities involved.

    1. Once we have turned 40 years of age, tests will show deterioration and/or malfunctions in many of your organs and bodily processes. This is normal and many are best left alone. If we pursue every problem detected with further tests and treatment, any National Health system will come to a complete standstill.

    2. Requiring a doctors opinion first, constrains a level of testing which is not financially viable, bottlenecks the already scarce resources of highly trained doctors, nurses, hospital beds, technicians etc for things that may not even be necessary.

    3. And this one really annoys me, the equipment used for may tests, like drugs for treatment, are are ridiculously expensive, to both buy and maintain. Pure greed, with many producers 'hiding behind the cover' of development costs etc. The last time I looked, Pharmaceutical companies allocated about 9% on average of their revenue for research and development - peanuts for an activity that is research dominated. Some 'monitoring' equipment consists of very basic electronics that costs very little and hide behind a very expensive facade of pretty boxes and 'certifications'.

    4. Politically, as long as the public continue to vote for mediocre power seekers and personalities with no career path even remotely associated with the sector they may become a 'minister' there will be problems far greater than they need to be.

    These problems, which were once solved by competent people using mostly common sense are now dealt with by people who have been reared to believe that everything can be solved sitting behind a computer screen and initiating beloved 'procedures' - most of which are based on PR 'spin' and to justify the financialisation of their activity.

    I'm afraid it's welcome to the world we have built for ourselves.

  • My views exactly if you are going private then you should not need a referral

  • I have been living in Crete since 2004 and have experienced a good level of care and an excellent system. You can obtain the number of a Consultant from a GP - phone them and usually have an appointment the same day as I have done on more than one occasion. Private but affordable. Blood tests are done in the next village - some on the NHS from the GP and then I add the ones I want when I take the paper to the Clinic for testing - and those I pay for. So I have the final say as I am paying for the extras.

    Results are available within two days and are beautifully printed up. We keep all records - scans - test results - and so on. It is a system that allows you to feel in control which is so important for one's wellbeing.

    On the subject of costs - the NHS in the UK are being charged almost 300 GBP's for the Thyroid treatment T3/Liothyronine - one of the many medicines that a company can charge whatever they like - due to a loophole in the law. For the same pack of tablets here I pay just over a euro over the counter and do not need a prescription ( albeit I do have one ! ) As a result in the UK GP's are stopping the prescribing of T3 due to costs and allegedly only an Endocrinologist can prescribe. Of course the waiting list to see one is endless. Meanwhile ..... There is only one company producing the T3 for the NHS - so no healthy competition. What a waste of money.

    Also if GP's were trained to deal with the underlying cause of illness - rather than putting a plaster over the cracks by treating symptoms - the NHS could save millions. I am thinking of the endless expensive tests people are sent for when a good understanding of B12 Deficiency and Low Thyroid and their results could be the beginning of a Healthy Nation :-)

    I suffer with both Low Thyroid - Hashimotos - and B12 Deficiency due to surgery over 40 years ago when the Medics forgot to tell me I would need B12 injections for life.

    I agree with the OP - when paying one should have the freedom to see whoever and make the contact oneself. To me it smacks of control - and the fact that they think the Doc knows best. Those days have gone - we now have the Internet :-)

  • Thanks Marz, in general you seem to agree that if we are paying we should not need a GPs referral. Obviously at some time you were using the NHS. I realise some treatment is highly expensive and the NHS has a long way to go to learn how to truely make its budget cost effective. As you say a lot of tests are wasted, but seen as cheap options. Heres an example monitors to check blood sugars , uric acids and cholestral cost around £40/£50 pounds and the strips for them are around £1.50 each, while a venous blood test cost anything from £32 to £127 for the same result. Once a monitor is purchased the only outlay in future is the test strips or a new monitor if it breaks down . Surely this is a cheaper alternative for NHS in doctors surgeries or nurses rooms than the coventional drawing of blood with a needle. The other area of vast cost is administration and paperwork. Some is definately needed but some is just repetative and unnecessary in the days of computers. Should be able to bring up a page with all details as long as a backup is kept for breakdown need. Nothing is perfect sadly. :)

  • My memory of GP appointments in the UK went like this - Doc would suggest seeing a consultant. Someone at the Surgery writes a letter from the GP. Appointment is scheduled and eventually I would receive a letter with the date of appointment. I would go along for said appointment. Nothing revealed - just the comment that Consultant would write back to GP. Another appointment to be made with the GP. Oh dear letter from hospital mislaid - make another GP appointment. Time and money spent. Not a good business model in my opinion.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that you should be able to make your OWN private appointment and bypass the GP. It may have been a method suited to the good ol' days when it was all about the old school network - but with the computerised records which should be accessible - it all seems a huge waste of resources.

    Lets hope someone soon will do an efficiency exercise :-)

  • These drug companies are just in it for the money sod the patients. If they can do it abroad why no here

  • Unfortunately this is what happens when GPs have a conflict of interest working in Private & public sectors knowing the pitfalls so do not allow second opinion in which case you should not have to pay .If they took & honoured the hippocratic oath this would not happen.This is a downhill fall from grace.