Here at Healthshare, we believe in empowering you to make the right choice for your health, and one which helps you get back to the life that you love. A key part of that is choosing the right consultant.
Here are some things to do when choosing a private consultant.
Check their qualifications and experience
Most private hospitals or clinics will host online profiles for all of their consultants. This profile should outline their qualifications, skills, experience and interests. At Healthshare, you can view our consultant directory here.
In addition to this, private consultants publish their number of procedures on the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN). You can also look into any training they have taken.
You should ensure that your consultant has an experience and interest in the condition, area of the body, treatment or type of surgery that you need.
Check expert and patient reviews
It’s also a good idea to review patient reviews on third-party websites. This is because the websites are impartial due to there being no link with the consultant or the hospital. Top Doctors, Doctify, iWantGreatCare and Care Opinion are great sites to check out.
Contact the relevant professional associations
Both NHS and private consultants are registered with the General Medical Council and a uniquely identifiable PIN number is associated with them as an individual. This is mandatory. They will also be a member of associations related to their field of speciality. These should be outlined in their online profile.
Below are some of examples of associations; in some cases, you can search their directory of members. In other cases, you will need to contact them to confirm:
- British Medical Association
- Royal College of Surgeons
- Association of Cancer Physicians
- British Association of Dermatologists
- British Cardiovascular Society
- British Society of Gastroenterology
- Royal College of Ophthalmologists
- Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
- Royal College of Radiologists
- Renal Association
- The Urology Foundation
- Society of Radiographers
- British Chiropody and Podiatry Association
- British Trauma Society
- British Association for Surgery of the Knee (BASK)
- British Society for Surgery of The Hand
- British Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society
- British Hip Society
- International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG).
Talk to your consultant or specialist
Once you’ve done your background research, it’s well worth having a conversation with your shortlisted consultants or specialists. From a professional standpoint, you’ll be able to ask them directly about their experience and suitability to treat you and your condition. You can also ask what their success rate is with the procedure. Additionally, you can ask to see recommendations or testimonials from previous patients, or if they have any complaints on file.
On a personal level, it’s worth also considering whether you like their manner and feel that you can trust them.
Remember, you can enquire and book an initial consultation without committing to any treatment to see how you get on.
Check with your private medical insurance company
If you have private medical insurance, there are two reasons to run the consultant(s) of your choosing past your medical insurance provider. Firstly, private medical insurance companies frequently work with consultants so they are likely to have feedback on them. They may also recommend a particular consultant to you.
Secondly, if you choose to pay via private medical insurance, you need to ensure that your consultant is registered with your current insurance company. If not, and you’d really like to still choose that consultant, you may wish to consider other ways to pay such as self-paying.
Private healthcare providers are required to publish information about relationships with consultants and their financial interests via the Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”). Simply type the private healthcare provider into this directory to review the paperwork.