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Monday 26 August 2019
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A patient's guide to going private
Private treatment

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Do I need a referral from my GP for private treatment?

Guide to going private - gp

There are very few private GPs in the UK. (See the Private Healthcare UK list of private GPs). So, when you decide to go private, whether you have private health insurance or not, your first step is normally to see your NHS GP. Your NHS GP will write the referral letter for your appointment with a private doctor or specialist.

Many private doctors, consultants and specialists are reluctant to see a patient unless there is a referral letter from the patient's GP. You can check with your preferred consultant’s private secretary to see if this is the case. Many private hospitals will arrange an appointment with one of their consultants, but communication with your GP will take place during your diagnosis and treatment.

GP referral letters are not normally required for physiotherapy, health screening, and cosmetic surgery and dentistry.

If you do not have a GP, your local private hospital may arrange for an appointment for you with a private GP in their outpatient department, if you wish. Or you can find a local private GP practice or clinic. (Search for a private GP).

Once you have seen the GP, he/she will recommend an appropriate specialist.  Or you can tell the GP which specialist you would like to see. (Search for a private specialist on the GoPrivate database.)

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Get a quote for private treatment

We will forward your request for further information, a quotation or an indicative cost for private hospital treatment to three providers of private healthcare services in your local area.

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Find a private hospital


Use our online database to search for a private hospital in your area. You can view hospital profiles and details of what they have to offer.

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Find a consultant

Are you looking for a private specialist or private consultant in the UK? We maintain a database of around 2,500 UK specialists in private practice. You can search by specialty or postcode.

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