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Pain Concern
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What's wrong with the NHS? (Rant)

Greedy surgeons!

I'm on an NHS waiting list that's around 3 months.

If I were to pay several thousands for the surgery using the same surgeon, same hospital etc that wait would be less than a month!

That's only one surgeon.

This is why the waiting lists are so long.

I'm sure they'd defend this with done kind of valid sounding argument but it would still come down to them wanting to squeeze month out of people and being allowed to do it.

8 Replies

Hi Lee. Sadly that's the way things are on the NHS. We have a massive population all needing health services and we have an acute shortage of GP's, Nurses and Doctors. I have been waiting for an appointment with an Orthapedic Doctor for over 4 months. The day before my appointment I came down with the worst throat infection ever and had to cancel it. I have a further appointment next week and am avoiding anyone that's unwell till after then.

You are so right if we went with a pocket full of money we would be seen with days and that's so unfair, not many ordinary folk can afford the Private fees.

Hope you get seen soon and feel better.



Hi Lee, if you pay the surgeon privately, does he have to pay the NHS for the operating theatre, private room etc? If so that may explain partly the price. But certainly not the speed of getting it done. Perhaps someone else can explain it.


Like many things in medicine, it's complicated.

Surgeons are restricted with how much private practice they can do, and how and why. And quite often you don't get seen that much faster if you go private with your surgeon, but you might get treated in a nicer looking hospital.

I know someone recently that went private for some surgery, it was the same surgeon she would have had with the NHS, and the same timing, but it was done in a private hospital. However private hospitals are businesses and they wanted her out as soon as possible so as to get the next patient in.

My experience when I used my husbands company supplied insurance to go private was that the date of the appointment from the NHS came through for the same week as the date of the private appointment. I saw the consultant in his private office, not an NHS hospital, and had the surgery in a private hospital with a private room, but it wasn't any faster or better than the NHS.

I have now had two foot surgeries in a small community hospital run by a trust which is contracted to do NHS work. I worked out that I couldn't have had it done any faster with my surgeon if I had gone private, as he still has to fit his patients in around his NHS work, and he is only allowed to work 48 hours a week.

And as others have said, a private surgeon will have to provide their own support staff, pay for the theatre and so on, which is why surgery in the private sector is so expensive.

Surgeons that work for the NHS have to make sure that their NHS work comes first, any private practice they do mustn't conflict with their NHS work. Not only that if they want to do private practice they have to offer extra work for the NHS first.

The longer waiting lists aren't just because surgeons choose to do private work, but because we have such a shortage of doctors.


The problem is not necessarily the surgeons but the rest of the surgical staff and the operating rooms that are allowed for in the budget. The staff are onky contracted for so many hours. So they can't do extra NHS work. Thats my understanding.

Any private operations must shorten the NHS list you would think.


As I said, some valid sounding exuses that still doesn't excuse the fact I can be seen 2 months earlier IN AN NHS HOSPITAL by the same team if I bow to the ransom.

Yes, the NHS equipment needs to be paid for.

It shouldn't be allowed that private treatments in NHS hospitals can take priority over NHS patients that can't afford to pay!

This is down to not only the surgeons but the hospitals - but ultimately the surgeons as they no doubt hold the hospitals to ransom too.


I've been told about a GP practice in Didcot oxfordshire that offers there patients the option of waiting for weeks to see the doctor or pay something like £100 to see doctor within the next 20 minutes. Pretty disgusting don't you think?


Hi, I understand where you are coming from as a patient - its awful when you have to wait a long time.

However as a healthcare professional I'd like to say that the fault isn't at the foot of the NHS or surgeons. Government policy has restricted funds and so surgical units cannot pay for the maximum staff needed but instead the minimum which makes lists longer.

NHS surgeons who do private work do it in their time off & will pay for use of an NHS operating theatre if one is available. Hospitals are restricted in how many surgeries they do a day dependent on staff & if there are any beds. So there are often empty theatres.

The lack of beds in hospitals ( due to underfunded social care & community healthcare plus an aging population) affects surgeries because if something goes wrong in the surgery or patient comes severely unwell, they need to have a bed available to treat you in the main hospital. Which again limits the number of surgeries per day & making the list longer.

Its a very complex issue & I'm sure your surgeons are working as fast as they can to get through the list safely.

Perhaps contact your MP and explain to them what has happened. They will have more influence to bring the issue up in both local parliament & with your hospital. Ot might not benefit you in the short term but may help someone else in a similar situation in the long term.

Best wishes & I hope you get seen soon! Hopefully you may be seen sooner if someone else cancels.


the entire problem with the NHS is we are treating far far too many people who have never paid into the system ...we are treating overseas patients and not charging them, we are treating all manner of addicts yet genuinely sick are sidelined

the waiting lists for surgury or even appointments are obscene and add on the massive cots of Private partnership deals entered into by Gordon Brown which are draining NHS finances plus the crisis in social care for the elderly and things are in a catasphonic mess

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