Discharge from hospital
When you are Discharge from hospital ready to be discharged from hospital, the ward receptionist will ask you to pay any outstanding charges such as those not covered by the hospitalization charge. Before you leave you will be given any medical items you may need from the hospital pharmacy.
Although adjuvant treatments for breast diseases, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, can be undertaken in private care, not all private hospitals have the facilities to carry these out. For example, very few can offer on-site radiotherapy, and this treatment is likely to be given at an NHS centre.
Differences and similarities
The main aim of the staff of any private hospital is the same as that in an NHS hospital — to make your stay as pleasant and as comfortable as possible. Because the staffing ratio is higher in private hospitals, more emphasis can be placed on privacy and comfort.
The consultant surgeons and anesthetists almost always work in an NHS hospital as well as in a private hospital, so you will receive the same expertise and skill under both systems. However, in an NHS hospital you may not actually be operated on by the consultant surgeon who heads the surgical team and, indeed, you may not see the consultant at all during your stay.
Private hospitals arrange their operating lists differently from NHS hospitals. The NHS hospitals have ‘sessional bookings’ for their operating theatres. This means a particular day is set aside at regular intervals for a specialist in one type of surgery to perform operations. In private hospitals, the consultants can book the use of an operating theatre (and the assistance of the staff who work in it) on any day, at any time that suits them. Therefore, your operation can take place privately with minimum delay, and at a time that is convenient to you and your consultant.
It is also possible, even if you are already on an NHS waiting list, to tell your GP or consultant at any time that you would like to change to private care. If the consultant you have already seen under the NHS does not have a private practice, you can ask to be put in touch with a consultant who can see you privately.
Although some private hospitals may have their own breast care nurses, the majority do not. However, if you would like to talk to a breast care nurse, the hospital should be able to arrange this. Bearing in mind how important the role of these specialist nurses has been recognized to be, it may be a good idea to request this service. The same applies to counseling services, which will probably be made available if you request them.
There are several reasons why, if they can, some women choose to have their operations done privately, either paid for by private health insurance or from their own pockets. Some find it much more convenient to be able to have a say in when their operation is to take place. The NHS, under which the majority of people are treated, naturally has longer waiting lists. If time is an important factor for you, you may be happy to pay to have your operation done at a time that you find convenient.
Some people simply prefer the smaller, more intimate setting they are likely to find in a private hospital. Private hospitals rarely deal with accidents and emergency treatment; the operations carried out in them are normally planned, at least a day or two in advance. Therefore, they do not have the bustle of an NHS hospital which has to deal with emergency admissions as well as the routine admissions for non-emergency operations.