In this article, we explain the cost of private medical treatment in the UK in 2020, covering everything from the factors affecting the price, to the ways you can pay. We’ve also researched what it costs to be treated for a number of the most common conditions, going out to five providers to find out what they currently charge.
Read on if you’re interested to learn more, or to get a rough idea of how each provider stacks up on price. If you’re here looking for information about the cost of insurance rather than the actual treatment, please click this link to visit our private health insurance page.
How much does private health care cost?
The cost of private healthcare in the UK is based upon a number of factors, including the treatment taking place, the location and the consultant’s own rates. In this section, we detail many of the elements which will affect the cost of your treatment.
What impacts the cost of private medical treatment?
While not an exhaustive list, these are the primary costs affecting the price of private medical treatment.
The hospital’s location: Where the hospital is will be a major factor in the cost of treatments. While at first, this may seem strange, it needs to be borne in mind that many other costs, such as rent and even staffing costs, will be higher in certain places in the UK. For example, you can expect to pay at least 10-20% more for treatments in London.
The treatment: As you would expect, the actual treatment required will play a significant role in determining the cost. For instance, having wisdom teeth removed is usually a far simpler treatment than full hip replacement surgery.
Medical equipment costs: Private health care providers continually invest in new equipment and the cost of that equipment tends to increase over time. To be a leading provider, you need the latest equipment and the ability to offer cutting-edge treatments.
Medicines: Similarly to equipment, private hospitals need to buy medicines, and the cost of some of the newest ones developed will be expensive. Medicine plays a key role in both treatment and recovery, so the private healthcare system needs access to the best available.
Consultant fees: As consultants gain experience, their fees will rise. There will be a “going rate” for each type of specialist and if there’s a shortage of a certain skill set, you can be sure that the cost will increase.
Staffing costs: Staff at private hospitals, from nurses to cleaners, need to be paid and again, these costs do tend to rise over time.
Commercial property rent, business rates and utilities: Private hospitals often have large buildings in prominent positions in towns and cities and the costs associated with those is significant. The closer you get to London, the more expensive it is to have property, which is one of the reasons it costs more to be treated in the capital.
Insurance: Providing medical treatment as a service comes with significant risk, so you can be sure that the hospitals will have costly insurance policies to provide them with some protection should problems occur.
Information technology: Modern businesses rely heavily upon computers, mobile phones and other technology; private hospitals are no different.
Profit margins: While some private healthcare providers are not for profit, others are profit-making businesses which need to try to create value for shareholders each year.
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Private treatment prices
In this part of the article, we’ve researched a selection of common surgical treatments, along with the current pricing from a number of private healthcare providers. The prices detailed in this article are correct as of January 2020 and are based on information found on the hospitals’ websites.
Private health care costs
As the cost of private treatment varies significantly based on the provider and their hospitals’ locations, along with the age of the individual being treated, we’ve made some broad assumptions. For the purpose of this comparison, the patient is a 40-year-old, who lives in Southampton, Hampshire. She will go to the nearest hospital that provides the required treatment and which is, of course, within the provider’s group. We’ve also assumed she’ll be paying in cash directly, with no associated insurance or loans.
“Our research found that treatment in London can often cost as much as 10-20% more than outside of the capital.”
Disclaimer - All prices are a guide
The prices provided on this page are only an indicative guide, based on the information available to us at the time of publication (Jan 2020). If you would like a quotation we’d recommend speaking directly to your chosen hospital.
Private wisdom tooth removal
All of the five providers we looked at include initial consultations and x-rays in their price for wisdom teeth removal.
Where to find information about private healthcare treatment costs
There are several ways you can get information about the cost of private healthcare treatment:
Contact private hospitals: The simplest method is to visit the website of the hospital/s you are considering for treatment to obtain a guide price for the treatment you require. Alternatively, you can contact the hospital and speak to someone about your treatment to obtain a quotation.
Speak to a private health insurer: Many of the UK’s leading health insurance providers will let people “Self-pay” for treatments. Sometimes called pay-as-you-go, self-pay is as the name suggests. To find out more information, speak to the insurer or you can ask us.
Talk to a private healthcare expert: You can talk to us, to get free unbiased advice on the cost of private healthcare. We can help you find the information you’re looking for or at least point you in the right direction.
Private medical insurance often called private health insurance will pay for a large number of treatments you may require. Depending on the provider, policy and your own medical history, which treatments will and won’t be covered will differ. To compare the UK’s best health insurance and receive free impartial advice, please click here.
Self-pay is a popular method of paying for private healthcare treatments and as the name suggests, you pay the hospital directly for the treatment you require. The cost of treatment will vary based on all of the factors we mentioned earlier in this article, and your best route for self-pay is to contact the hospitals directly.
The final option is to get a medical loan which spreads the cost of the treatment over your chosen amount of time. This is the perfect arrangement for anyone that doesn’t have private medical insurance and perhaps doesn’t have the spare cash to pay for the treatment upfront.
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