Private rheumatology

Has any one seen a rheumatologist privately. If so was it worth the money?

Parking at my local hospital is absolutely horrendous, then when you actually get to the clinic, you see a registrar for about ten minutes after a 2hour wait. She really does nothing except ask a few questions which she already knows the answer. We have no rheumy nurses at all

14 Replies

  • Hiya Magnolia I paid Private when my doctor first suspected Ra and it was a waste of my time and money, it is no different, to the NHS, it cost me £150 pounds for a 10 min for me no, because i see the same one on the NHS any way for 10 mins but doesn't cost me.

  • Alga girl

    Thank you fo your reply. Still don't know what to do. THere are so many patients packed in such a short time. I don't seem to be getting anywhere

  • I see a rheumatologist privately and think it's money well spent. I get to discuss things with him and know that I have the time to do so. Also. I'm guaranteed to see him, not some registrar. Clemmie

  • It also depends on what treatment you're on as I don't think you can get biologics privately (or if you did it would cost about £10k a year).

    You could try raising your unhappiness with your treatment with your hospital PALS service, as that can sometimes get really good results.

    I think Clemmie you're not in UK? So might be different.

  • I spend time abroad but see a rheumatologist privately when I'm in the UK as I am at the moment, because that way I can choose when & where I see him. It would be too difficult on the NHS and I'm not particularly impressed with the NHS anyway. I was a nurse in the NHS for quite some time and was so proud of our healthcare system. It grieves me to see how badly patients are treated now and it even makes me ashamed. Clemmie

  • I see the same consultant in the NHS and privately. I had my first appointment privately because I had insurance, but my GP had already referred me to the NHS so I easily got to see him there too.

    The main difference it makes is that since my first appointment in the NHS I've always been put in as an 'overbook' at the end of clinic which means a quick appointment; the appointments at the private hospital are when we get to talk properly.

    He can't prescribe any medications at the private hospital, they have to come through the NHS (for all sorts of reasons)

    He gives me steroid injections into joints when I need them in the private hospital, I'd have to go on a waiting list in the NHS because it's a procedure, but each has to be paid for separately.

    Without insurance you'd have to pay a fortune for radiography and laboratory tests.

    Having access to both hospitals works well for me, my consultant gets to treat me in the way he wishes and not just how the NHS dictates, and the NHS has never held back on medication. Neither is perfect on its own, and even though I've had such good access this disease has only progressed and is not yet under control.

  • Yes, I have seen a private rheumatologist.

    Yes, it was worth the money to get taken seriously and to get a diagnosis.

    No, it wasn't worth it in the long term because the NHS hasn't accepted the diagnosis, and therefore I still don't get any NHS treatment.

    Its tempting to go private, but remember that it can be extremely difficult to then organise prescriptions, etc, and biologics may be out of the question. My private rheumatologist could really only give me steroids and NSAIDs as they had to write to my GP and suggest to the GP what to prescribe. GPs don't really like prescribing things like DMARDs unless they have a shared care agreement with NHS.

    While I did get some benefit from seeing a rheumatologist privately, its not something I would now recommend to folk. An alternative might be to see if there is a different hospital you could get to, and ask if you can be transferred.

  • I think I'm really lucky with the care I receive in the NHS. I can always get an emergency appointment within a couple of days with a nurse if I need one. I see my consultant at least every six months. And although she does run late and you sometimes have to wait an hour to see her when you get into her room she has all the time in the world for you. When I've needed steroid injections into my joints she has always done it there and then (with the exception of my ankles twice because I was driving home - but then I only had to wait a week to get another appointment).

    I would suggest trying a different hospital if there is one within a reasonable distance.


  • I have just booked to see a rheumy privately at London Bridge,I got advice about this from the aps bit of healthunlocked,

    people there do recommend it quite highly,as a one off to get your NHS treatment back on track

    the appt cost just over two hundred pounds ,but as advised, I shall get bloods done by gp and take results with me as a full screen(bloodwork) would have cost more than four hundred on top

  • I saw a consultant privately the first time as there was such a long waiting list on the NHS and I knew the sooner I started treatment the better. I saw my GP in the morning and the Consultant's secretary phoned me that afternoon and I had an appt a few days later! So, for me, it was really worth it. I was put on medication immediately and then went back to NHS seeing the same consultant from then on. [next appt with him was in a month to see how I was responding].

    He pushed me through two drugs, which didn't work very well, so I could start Enbrel and from then on I am so much better. I now see the registrar 6 monthly as, because I am doing so well, I no longer need to see the Top Man. I know that, if there is any change the registrar will consult with the Top Man and get advice from him.

    Even though you feel you are not seeing the Top Man be reassured he is being kept up to date by the registrar who is following your progress with the blood tests as well as listening to you and how you feel you are. The questions are for your benefit.

    I always go with a list of my own questions.

  • Hi Magnolia I live in Oz and I have just started seeing my rheumy privately after two years of Registrars and being screwed around so much I nearly walked away and just suffered with it. I got so frustrated at the last one I just smiled said thanks and walked out, went home and made a private appointment.

  • My experience is identical to Magglen's. I never have to wait longer than half an hour at NHS appointment (less than when I had the initial private appointment with TopMan at the Cromwell Hospital) and it seems as if I get as long as I need. I know that the Registrar works to the TopMan's protocol and that there are regular team meetings. I used to see her fortnightly, then monthly. Now that I've started Embrel, I am expecting it to be three monthly. I couldn't wish for better treatment.

    I have minimal insurance cover, with scans and X-rays only being covered if they lead to inpatient care, so ongoing private care wasn't really an option for me. The financial stress might have triggered a flare!

  • That's awful! I live in Ireland and my RD service is excellent. I see my consultant every 3 months. Where do you live?

  • I live in Windsor but I go to hospital I Slough. It's a very big hospital. I see the rheumatologist every 6 months but always the registrar. I have had to cancel my appointment for tomorrow and have the next available appointment in December!!

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