BMI Healthcare, the UK’s largest private hospital group is encouraging patients to be aware of the options available to them outside of the NHS.
The increased awareness around patient choice comes after the medical director of the NHS last year admitted that sight-saving cataract operations were being restricted across half of England.
“Restrictions on eligibility for cataract surgery means that many people are having to wait for their sight to get worse before they actually are eligible to have the treatment they need,” Professor Robert Scott, Consultant Ophthalmologist at BMI Healthcare commented.
Access to treatment for cataract surgery varies across the UK, in Fylde and Wyre, North Lancashire there were 1,147 operations per 100,000 people contrasted to just 267 in South Reading.
“With an ever-increasing ageing population we need to be aware of the options that are available to us outside of the NHS,” Professor Scott at BMI Healthcare added. “That doesn’t mean turning your back on the NHS. But when you do visit your GP, if you aren’t able to receive the treatment you need, you need to be aware of your options.”
This can include letting your GP know you have private medical insurance or requesting more information on the option to self-pay the cost of your procedure.
The UK self-pay market has seen massive growth in the past few years with non-cosmetic procedures increasing to £398m from £311m between 2008 and 2011. “This growth is, in part, due to ever-increasing restrictions within the NHS and the fact that people aren’t willing to wait for the surgery they need.”
“Cataract surgery, which can help restore and dramatically improve a patient’s sight, is one of the most common and successful medical procedures around today. “Our sight is one sense that we can all take for granted – until it starts to go! But modern advances in lens technology mean that we can remove the cataract and replace it with a lens that restores near 20/20 vision.
“Crucially the surgery isn’t as expensive as patients may think and, when you compare it to the benefit it has on their lives, many wonder why they didn’t have it sooner,” concluded Professor Scott at BMI Healthcare.
The cost of a cataract procedure at BMI Healthcare starts from £2,153. With BMI Healthcare you have the option to pay for the treatment upfront or use the BMI Card to spread the cost of your treatment, helping to make it more affordable and accessible to more people.
For more information on the ’Pay for Yourself’ options available at BMI Healthcare please visit: www.payingforyourself.co.uk or call: 0800 096 2695