Worth plundering the piggy bank? And am I even allowed to?

Hi all. Just wondering what your thoughts and opinions are about this....so as I said the other day things seem to have gone belly up in terms of my health. My next appointment with my consultant is scheduled for JANUARY. Feels an eternity away. I am going to call the helpline and plead for an earlier slot but frankly if they bring me in to see the clueless brand new rheumatology nurse again then it will be less than useless so it needs to Be a doctor of some description!

So my question is, if they are adamant that there is nothing before January could I raid my savings and go and see my consultant privately? I don't even know if this is something you are "allowed" to do if you are already seeing that person as an NHS patient.

Has anyone ever done this and was it worth it?

14 Replies

  • Normally no hun i think u cant mix and match, only way to know is ring consultants secretary i would think.

  • nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2572.aspx?... Not sure how helpful this is. You could always ask when you phone up, it might make them see how badly you need to see the consultant.

  • Yes and Yes, it its not that expensive £190 worth every penny.

  • Thanks so much. If anything I think just feeling that I have that as an option if I really can't hack the wait may help my mental state if not my physical one!

  • Go for it. It feels like a cheeky move, getting a private appointment, but why do we feel that way? You have very good reasons for needing an appointment before January.

    Hopefully you'll be able to see your regular rheumatologist earlier. But if not a call to the private hospital's reception will clarify the process / protocols for a private appointment.

    I've done it, I didn't see my rheumy 'cos basically he was the problem. It caused a few problems short term but long term it helped equip me to fight for more aggressive treatment.

  • My ex-rheumy doesn't do any private work. However she was brilliant so if she had done private consultations I would have no hesitation in paying for one if I needed it! After all, means she has more time for another NHS patient.

    You do need to do a bit of investigation, because if it's a different rheumy you need to be sure that their recommendations would be accepted by your NHS rheumy as otherwise you'll have to (eg) pay the full price for prescriptions. Generally this does work ok and people do do it.

  • I'm not sure that it does a lot of good, as all treatment (and treatment changes) really need to come through the NHS system. In some cases I think its worth having an initial consultation privately, but only if you know the doctor also works in the NHS in your region and they are willing to transfer you onto their NHS list for ongoing care.

    I think if you are needing help before the January appointment, the best thing to do is see your GP, explain the problems (and the having to wait for the Jan appointment), and get them to contact the rheumatologist for advice. It does seem to hasten the process if your GP is involved and asking for you.

  • I have on a number of occasions seen my consultant privately when I have problems. Recently for an injection in a bursa on my leg. WaIting time is so long at the hospital I just get sick of being in pain. Usually need a referral from your GP the first time after that I just ring his secretary. I am lucky as my consultant works in nhs and privately and is brilliant. He has referred me on for cateract surgery, dermatology and knee replacement. My GP has no knowledge of RA and is always totally unhelpful when I have problems. I see the consultant once a year on the NHS and usually pay when desperate in between. My health insurance considers my RA an on going chronic condition and won't pay so I have to self finance appointments. Drugs are prescribed by my GP or hospital on NHS.

  • I waited, I phoned and then I waited some more. When I finally got to the appointment, the Doctor asked why I had waited. Perhaps you could ring the Rheumatology department and speak to them directly.

  • Try speaking to your GP to get a referral to see your rheumy privately....then phone his private practice secretary to make an appointment.

    Unless you GP is one of a strange breed who resent Private medicine he will write the letter & you can see the Rheumy, & once you have been seen privately you can see him anytime when you feel you need it.

    My GP was a bit bolshie when I was put on Leflunomide by a private rheumatologist & I had to pay for it for the first few months, then the GP signed the necessary form & I got an NHS prescription. It was about £22 a month & well worth it.

    If you look on line on the NHS website there is a lot of useful info on this subject.

    Good Luck Bon1......l feel when you are in pain cost goes out the window!

  • Hello,

    I regularly see my rheumatologist privately when I need to discuss urgent problems with him or require urgent treatment. Don't hesitate, just do it. You will have time to talk and sort out all your problems in a relaxed and very pleasant environment. I pay £100 for a consultation plus the cost of any treatment that is required. Money well spent in my opinion. Plus I can usually get an appointment the following week.

    All the best. Regards Pam

  • Just looking back at your last post. If I were in your shoes I think more investigation of my disease and hopefully more clarity about it would help me somewhat. That may not be the ultimate goal, which presumably is to be on the most effective treatment, but just finding the right road in this difficult journey helps psychologically.

    You asked in that last post whether Mtx can work & then suddenly not work. Well I do know that flares can happen even when treatment is working well generally. But on the other hand you also have significant doubts about whether Mtx IS the best treatment. I'd imagine that until you have a much firmer diagnosis these kinds of questions and concerns are going to proliferate.

    I reckon a consultation with the best rheumy you can find might help with getting on track. Or an earlier consultation with your own rheumy focusing on firming up the diagnosis and deciding on the very best treatment plan ... but in any case something needs to give by the sounds of it.

    I started off with a rheumy who thought that most (all?) of my problems were down to osteoarthritis and was keen to reduce my Mtx dose. He was a bit of an extreme case! But although I randomly chose a private consultant, as it turned out he still did a few hours a week alongside my NHS rheumy, had until recently been his boss and still had superiority. And this private consultant, with his excellent reputation etc., was firmly of the opinion that I had PsA and needed to start biologics ASAP. The NHS guy proceeded to suffer with severe 'nose out of joint' syndrome and made sure he spread his misery to me. But ultimately I found another NHS rheumatologist, got on biologics, know what my disease is & am as contented as I can be. That private consultation was a turning point.

    Hope things work out, but yes, spend money, get phoning, do whatever you have to do!

  • first consultant I saw was privately (wanted to get seen quicker than nhs appointment) wish I had not bothered more or less said I was hypochondriac and the pain would not come back. really made me feel like i shouldn't be there as i couldn't afford it. will definitely stick to nhs as he is very helpful and listens to what I have to say

  • Before you pay out of your pocket, call and see if they can get you in earlier. Sometimes if you explain to them what is going on, they may be able to put in on a cancelled appointment. This is how I was able to get in with my instead of waiting 4 months. It may be worth the try

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