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Thyroid UK
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If I get a *private* diagnosis will the NHS then treat me?

Hi everyone! I'm thinking of going to a local private hospital to see an endo privately - to see if I can get a diagnosis. All my symptoms point to Hashimoto's but the NHS doctors have been *very* slow to do anything about it (as I've put on another thread, I've had the usual diagnoses of ME and fibromyalgia - this has been going on for years).

However, if he does turn out to be a good endo and I get a diagnosis from him, would I be able to go back to my NHS GP and say "now please treat me"? The thing is, we don't have private insurance so we'd be eating into our retirement savings in order for me to see the endo - there's no way I could afford private prescriptions for life too. So, if getting a private diagnosis won't help me get NHS treatment, I'm wondering what's the point of using up our money on this.

Hope someone can advise me on this. Thanks!

14 Replies

It seems to be entirely a matter of luck. Some GP's will pay attention to a diagnosis given privately - most will not.

The more important thing to consider is whether the private doctor you are planning to see spends any time working in the NHS. If he does, his treatment of you will in all likelihood not differ from what he would say wearing his NHS hat. As a friend of mine once said to me "same doctor, different carpet!" It could turn out to be a COMPLETE waste of your money.

It would be better spent by seeing one of the Thyroid UK recommended doctors. You can obtain a list of them from Louise after the Christmas break: thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/diagno...

Good luck, Jane x


You may find that the endo at the local private hospital is the same as your local nhs hospital. Many consultants do private work on the side. You could still find a good one, and you are more likely to have a diagnosis from a consultant working in the nhs and doing some private being accepted by your GP. My experience is that they have difficulty with drs working completely outside their comfort zone. If i were you I would look up the consultants in your private hospital. they usually have I biography on the website which tells you if they are also employed by nhs and where and then you can decide if you see them privately or not. No use seeing a useless one and waste your money. TUK have a list of good endos that you can ask them to send.



Hi to you both! Yes, this one does work for the NHS too - so going to him might be a waste of time (and money).

Thanks for directing me to the list on the ThyroidUK site. I had seen that - but for some reason I only read the left-hand column of areas covered, so I thought my area wasn't covered! I now see it is - so I'll try contacting someone for a copy of that list. :-)


Hi So long as a consultant, not a private doctor. The GP will be told in what way to treat you and if you ask the consultant to tell GP also what tests. I have seen many private consultants for years, GP is meant to prescribe to look after the different drugs as they are responsible for you safety. In theory they can say "no" to a drug if they disagree with it but in practice most unlikely. private doctor as opposed to a consultant is quite different.

You will still need a referral for a private consultant, they work in the NHS or are retired from it They have to follow the GMC rules but have more leeway privately as working just for themselves . also more time.



You would have to research for an Endo who thinks 'outside the box' as many private Endocrinologists adhere to the same guidelines as laid down by the British Thyroid Association, so it would be just a waste of money and effort on your part.

louise.warvill@thyroiduk.org has a list of NHS Endos/private doctors if you email her.

Some members may have the name of an Endo they've seen who is sympathetic and could send you a private message


No they will not. I had a situation where i self-diagnosed 3 conditions the nhs had missed: chronic neutropaenia, coeliac and pernicious anaemia. Got my private diagnoses and went back to the nhs. They disregarded everything. In my opinion it is because they are more concerned with covering up their failures than your health. You will find you have to beg for appropriate nhs referrals and get re-diagnosed


I am seeing a private endo who has diagnosed me with parathyroid disease. She writes to my GP regarding tests she wants done and the GP has happily obliged. Consultant has also specified an nhs hospital for a different issue and my GP is referring me. Regarding medication the private endo recommends and so far the GP has prescribed. However GP's are not obliged to follow a private doctors recommendations.


NHS gps don't follow anyone's recommendations - even those of NHS specialists. I don't know how it's legal but it appears to be. When i told a private GP, he said the nhs gp was on rocky ground as she was putting my health at risk. But it's a losing battle as anyone knows who has tried to fight the system.


I obviously have good GP's as they don't have any problem with carrying out the requests and recommendations from the Consultants.


I think it depends on whether your GP is reasonable or not. I've been through ano it having your diagnosis too. My former GP wouldn't diagnose from the private saliva and urine tests that Dr P likes. I won't go into such a long story, but I was concerned about the affordability of on going purchasing of essential meds, when I new I also had to pursue other avenues of private help. Ultimately I got an NHS referral which lead to some help, but not enough. Then i saw a privat endo who wasn't even local. This was why he ended up my ex GP, he didn't agree with the dose increase because the dose wasn't the same as what the NHS doctor wanted to keep me on. Not only that he deduced to write to the NHS consultant for advice. I just joined a different surgery! This Jew GP was much better. Yes I had a lot of repetitious discussion about suppressed TSH and its not how she'd treat... but believe me I got my liothyronine prescriptions on the NHS and have done for the past couple of years.

Yes it is possible and its also possible to have problems and it took me a long time to get peace of mind.


Thanks, everyone, for your comments/answers to this! It sounds like it's a bit of a lottery - some GPs will take notice of a private diagnosis and some won't.

I think what I'm going to try to do is to get my GP on board first. She seems quite reasonable, so I'm going to approach her first about this and see if she will refer me to an endo on the NHS (who will probably be the same one I was thinking of going to privately). In the meantime, I've requested the list of private consultants/doctors from the main website here.

Then, if she doesn't seem interested in either referring me or doing the full range of tests necessary, I'll ask her how she would feel about me going private and then taking the information back to her. I guess the best way forward is to try to involve your NHS GP from the start. Failing all that, I'll think of moving to another GP! ;-)


I sought out my own private endo and after emailing her she agreed to see me without a referral but I wanted to keep my GP on board so I did ask her for a referral which she happily did. I think keeping the GP's on side is important, if you try and do it all on the quiet then understandably they may get annoyed.


My GP picked up a borderline raised Tsh (5.7) I doubt my GP would have treated me as two weeks later it was 3.5. However, I was trying to conceive at the time so saw a private endo at the London clinic. He started me off on thyroxine and after that my GP paid attention and I doubt would have disagreed with a proffessor emeritus!


I saw an endo privately for a second opinion ( who also has a nhs clinic ) , who disagreed with my GP and first endo I had seen on nhs . Started me on thyroxine which my GP then agreed to continue .


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