Are there private hospitals in the UK?

The UK has many private hospitals across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK has many private hospitals across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The majority of hospitals offer specialist advice and treatments across many different areas and can be accessed by paying for private health treatment or through a health insurance policy.
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February 19, 2024
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What services do UK private hospitals offer?

Every private hospital is different. Depending on their facilities, staff and equipment, they are likely to offer several care specialities. An example of what healthcare you may find available in private UK hospitals include:

Examples of areas of speciality offered by UK hospitals:

  • Audiology
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Endoscopy
  • General surgery
  • Neurology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Plastic and cosmetic surgery
  • Private GP services
  • Psychology
  • Rheumatology

Choosing a private hospital in the UK

When choosing a private hospital, consider how far you’re willing to travel, the types of health services you require, how you plan to pay, and their Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating.

  1. Location - There are over 2400 private hospitals listed on the CQC website, which means you may have several options when finding one located close to you.
  1. Health services - Every hospital offers different areas of specialisation, so you’ll need to find one that offers the type of treatment you need.
  1. How you plan to pay - How you plan to pay - most hospitals will offer treatment to self pay clients and those covered as part of a health insurance policy.
  2. CQC rating - Every UK private hospital (excluding those in Scotland) receives a rating from the CQC ranging from inadequate to outstanding. This rating demonstrates how safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led they are.

How to access UK private hospital services

Private hospitals are separate entities from the NHS and public health services. In some cases, the NHS may use private hospitals to support them during busy periods or have private facilities, but otherwise, the only way to get access is through health insurance or by covering the costs yourself.

Private hospitals and health insurance

Health insurance covers you for private treatments and services in the UK for a monthly or annual fee. As part of your cover, you’ll be allocated a hospital list which defines which facilities you can receive treatment from as part of your private health cover. 

Along with any private hospital-related fees, your health insurance policy may also cover the costs of consultations, diagnostics and treatments (granted that you’re making an eligible claim). This means that health insurance may be the most cost-effective option for anyone considering treatment at a private hospital. You’ll need to make sure your hospital list includes a facility you’re willing to be treated at, as well as cover for the type of treatment you need.

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What are private health insurance hospital lists?

Hospital lists define which medical facilities you’re covered to receive treatment and services from as part of your health insurance policy. Lists may vary between providers and plans. For example, a more comprehensive policy may include an extended list compared to lower-level plans. Here are some examples of providers’ hospital lists:

  1. Aviva hospital list checker
  2. Vitality hospital list
  3. Bupa facilities finder
  4. AXA directory of hospitals
  5. The Exeter hospital lists
  6. WPA healthcare providers

It’s important to note that health insurance hospital lists will include hospitals from a range of companies and not just their own facilities. Through health insurance, you’ll have access to a wide range of options across the UK.

Pay for private hospitals as you need treatment

The alternative way to receive treatment at private hospitals is through self-pay or pay-as-you-go options. Many hospitals will offer this option, and you may have a wider choice of options compared to health insurance. However, you may find costs for a course of treatments or for operations can be expensive.

Examples of private hospitals in the UK

There are many private hospitals throughout the UK, with over 2400 being listed by the CQC alone across many different providers. Some examples of UK private hospital providers include:

  1. Nuffield Health - Find a hospital tool
  2. HCA Healthcare - Hospital location list
  3. Circle Health Group - Find a hospital tool
  4. Spire Healthcare - Location finder too

We’ve collected some information about various UK hospitals from the above providers in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, and the surrounding areas below.

London and the surrounding areas

Highgate Hospital

  • Provider: Nuffield Health
  • Address: 17-19 View Road, Highgate, London, N6 4DJ
  • Phone number: 020 8341 4182
  • Email: hohig.enquiries@nuffieldhealth.com
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Good
  • Areas of speciality: 22

London Bridge Hospital

  • Provider: HCA Healthcare
  • Address: 27 Tooley Street London, SE1 2PR
  • Phone number: 020 3993 9530
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Outstanding
  • Areas of speciality: 16

The London Independent Hospital

  • Provider: Circle Health Group
  • Address: 1 Beaumont Square, London E1 4NL
  • Phone number: 020 3582 8474
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Good
  • Areas of speciality: 20

Spire London East Hospital

  • Provider: Spire Healthcare
  • Address: Roding Lane South, Redbridge, Essex, IG4 5PZ
  • Phone number: 0203 993 1335
  • Email: Via contact form
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Good
  • Areas of speciality: 26

Birmingham and the surrounding areas

Wolverhampton Hospital

  • Provider: Nuffield Health
  • Address: Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE
  • Phone number: 0300 1311406
  • Email: Via contact form
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Good
  • Areas of speciality: 5

The Harborne Hospital

  • Provider: HCA Healthcare
  • Address: Mindelsohn Way Birmingham, B15 2FQ
  • Phone number: 0121 468 9458
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Not yet rated
  • Areas of speciality: 9

The Priory Hospital

  • Provider: Circle Health Group
  • Address: Priory Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 7UG
  • Phone number: 0121 667 6104
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Requires improvement
  • Areas of speciality: 45

Spire Parkway Hospital

  • Provider: Spire Healthcare
  • Address: 1 Damson Parkway, Solihull, Birmingham, West Midlands, B91 2PP
  • Phone number: 0121 756 5172
  • Email: Via contact form
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Good
  • Areas of speciality: 25

Manchester and the surrounding areas

Manchester Diagnostic Suite

  • Provider: Nuffield Health
  • Address: Nelson Street, Manchester, M13 9NQ
  • Phone number: 0161 820 0859
  • Email: Via contact form
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Good
  • Areas of speciality: 2

The Wilmslow Hospital

  • Provider: HCA Healthcare
  • Address: 52-54 Alderley Road Wilmslow, SK9 1NY
  • Phone number: 0161 5169 053
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Outstanding
  • Areas of speciality: 16

The Alexandra Hospital

  • Provider: Circle Health Group
  • Address: Mill Lane, Cheadle, Cheshire, SK8 2PX
  • Phone number: 0161 532 5598
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Good
  • Areas of speciality: 47

Spire Manchester Hospital

  • Provider: Spire Healthcare
  • Address: 170 Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2AF
  • Phone number: 0161 516 5129
  • Email: Via contact form
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Outstanding
  • Areas of speciality: 25

Edinburgh and the surrounding areas

Edinburgh Hospital

  • Provider: Nuffield Health
  • Address: 40 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH10 5BT
  • Phone number: 0131 447 2340
  • Email: Via contact form
  • Care Quality Commission rating: N/A (Scottish hospitals not rated by the CQC)
  • Areas of speciality: 8

Kings Park Hospital

  • Provider: Circle Health Group
  • Address: Polmaise Road, Stirling, FK7 9JH
  • Phone number: 01786 497263
  • Care Quality Commission rating: N/A (Scottish hospitals not rated by the CQC)
  • Areas of speciality: 31

Spire Edinburgh Hospitals Murrayfield and Shawfair Park

  • Provider: Spire Healthcare
  • Address: Spire Murrayfield Hospital, 122 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6UD
  • Phone number: 0131 608 5686
  • Email: Via contact form
  • Care Quality Commission rating: Good
  • Areas of speciality: 24

What facilities and amenities do private hospitals offer?

UK private hospitals will offer varying facilities and amenities that aim to improve your experience when visiting them. Some examples you may find include:

  1. Free Wi-Fi
  2. Pharmacies
  3. A la carte menu
  4. Air-conditioning
  5. Private ensuite rooms
  6. Chaplaincy
  7. Spiritual care
  8. Physiotherapy
  9. Fitness and gym facilities
  10. Shuttle bus
  11. Multi-story parking
  12. Patient gardens
  13. Relatives lounge
  14. Private pods for overnight stays
  15. Playrooms
  16. Children’s sensory rooms
  17. Child-friendly rooms
  18. On-site translators
  19. Rooftop terraces

What’s the difference between NHS and private hospitals in the UK?

  1. NHS hospitals - These are medical facilities run by the NHS which are available for the public to use as and when they require medical attention. You can find a directory of NHS facilities and providers on their online directory.
  1. Private hospitals - These are privately run medical facilities that can normally only be accessed through health insurance or paid for privately.

Does using private hospitals mean you can’t use the NHS?

In short, no. If you’re eligible to access public health services in the UK, your rights to public care won’t change if you receive private medical health or treatment. This is also true for health insurance. If you have an active policy in place, you can still use the NHS, and in some cases, your policy may require you to use the NHS for some medical services.

Benefits of private hospitals compared to public hospitals

You may find that private hospitals offer services, facilities and benefits that aren’t available at public hospitals. Some examples include:

  1. Private facilities - You may find that private hospitals offer more modern facilities compared to the public hospitals available to you.
  2. Private rooms - Some private hospitals may allocate you your own room instead of sharing areas with other patients.
  3. Waiting times - You may find that you spend less time waiting for treatment in private facilities.
  4. Choice of consultants - In some cases, you may not have a choice over which consultant you see via public healthcare. Whereas with private hospitals and providers, you may find that you have this option.
  5. Parking charges - While maybe not important in the grand scheme of healthcare, you may pay parking charges for visiting NHS hospitals, but parking may be free at private facilities.
  6. Flexibility - Private facilities may offer you more flexibility over appointment dates and times.

Compare health insurance that includes private hospital access

Health insurance policies will cover you for treatments and services at private hospitals in the UK. Every policy is different, and some will offer a more extensive list of hospitals compared to others.

We can help you compare your options and get covered for UK private hospital treatment. Provide some basic contact information below, and we’ll be in touch.

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