Hip Replacement Surgery: Should You Stick With the NHS, or go Private?
The Covid pandemic has had a dramatic impact on all aspects of our lives. Here in the UK our NHS health system has experienced unprecedented demand and the associated pressure as a result of this. This has meant that the system many of us took for granted, has changed. In the light of these changes, it is unsurprising that many people waiting for NHS hip replacement surgery are exploring other options.
Waiting times for many procedures have stretched to previously unseen lengths, leaving many people facing uncertain months of crippling pain and despair. As the country is now taking its hesitant first forward steps towards normality, thousands of people’s health and wellbeing have taken many steps backwards, as a result of conditions continuing to go untreated.
With the daunting prospect of a lengthy wait for treatment, some people are considering other options.
NHS Hip Replacement Surgery
We are huge fans of the National Health Service and feel privileged to know that it is there for us, no matter what. But Covid has turned the world upside down and placed an ever increasing burden on our beloved NHS.
Could one way to ease this burden be to pay to have private treatment? Many might say that they have paid into the NHS and don’t want to lose their entitlement to free treatment. But you would never lose your entitlement to free NHS services by choosing to have an elective procedure at this time.
Some people aren’t happy about appearing to “jump the queue” by paying for private treatment. But in doing so, you just might be freeing up a space for someone else.
The private healthcare system never competes with the NHS, rather it complements it and works hand in hand with it.
You may actually be reducing the strain on the NHS freeing it up to deal with emergencies and life saving treatments.
According to the Royal College of Surgeons of England, figures in April 2021 show the scale of the problem –
- 4.7 million people waiting for hospital treatment
- 387,885 waiting for more than 52 weeks
- Just 1,643 people waiting for more than 52 weeks in February 2020
- The 18 week maximum target for treatment hasn’t been met for 5 years
Mr Tim Mitchell, Vice-President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England said:
“The NHS had a brutal start to the year because of the second wave of COVID-19 and this is reflected in today’s figures.
“Although the most urgent operations, for cancer and life-threatening conditions, went ahead, hundreds of thousands of patients waiting for routine surgery such as hip and knee operations, cochlear implants and vascular operations had their treatment cancelled or postponed.”
Private Hip Replacement Surgery
The cost of private hip replacement surgery in the UK is in the region of £9,025 to £15,500 depending on the area you live in, the individual surgeon and the type of surgery you need.
Private hip surgery can be funded in a variety of ways. The major private healthcare providers such as Spire Healthcare, BMI Healthcare (now Circle Health), Nuffield Health and Ramsay Health offer packages including no deposit and interest free periods.
Private Health Insurance is also an option and although this may not cover existing conditions, may be something to consider to guard against future health issues.
The decision to pay for your own private treatment is a serious one but many people feel that their continuing pain and deteriorating health are worthy of making the investment.
People have described the decision to pay for surgery as “Life changing”, “Opening up a new life” and “Money well spent.”
Benefits of Private Hip Replacement Surgery
- Reduced waiting times: This is the greatest benefit as the deterioration of your health prior to the surgery, can have a huge impact on the resulting outcome. Although private healthcare is becoming increasingly popular, and waiting times are becoming longer, it’s unlikely that the private sector will ever experience the same pressure as the NHS. As a result, you can anticipate a greatly reduced waiting time, which is advantageous if you’re experiencing a lot of pain with your hip and want to address the problem sooner rather than later.
- Greater choice: Of course, one of the most significant advantages of private hip replacement surgery is that you are entitled to ‘shop around’ in order to find the right medical establishment for your operation. You can also find out which surgeons come highly recommended and which operate in your local area.
- Continuity of treatment: The consultant that you choose will see you from start to finish and oversee all aspects of your treatment. The consultant himself, rather than one of his team, will perform your operation.
- Custom fit implants and access to the latest technology where appropriate: The ultimate decision regarding which method and which prosthesis is best for you, will come after a detailed consultation with your surgeon who will make the decision based on your individual diagnosis and needs.
Making a Decision
Before making a decision, it’s important to be aware that hip replacement surgery is considered one of the most successful operations in the UK, in terms of both low mortality rates and positive results. This applies to NHS hip replacement as well as those performed by private healthcare organisations.
Before deciding, talk to your GP about your options. Also, take the time to discuss the matter with other people who have already had the operation; ask them about their experiences and what they would recommend. In short, it’s worth doing your research, to ensure you’re properly informed and armed with the right facts before making any final decision.