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The following was written by a patient whose story is, unfortunately, only too typical - and which emphasises many of the significant differences between NHS and private healthcare ...




Basically Private over the NHS everytime!

I was a 36 year old female at the time when I completely ruptured my ACL in my right knee whilst playing sports. In total I spent 7 months on crutches. 6 of those under the ‘care’ of the NHS.  1 month under private care.

I have created a list of the problems I faced with the NHS in comparison to my experience with the Private medical care I received as below:

  • Extremely long waiting times.
  • Unprofessional help and care over the phone.
  • Mix up with dates and times of appointments.
  • Cancellations of appointments by the NHS.
  • Misdiagnosed three times even from the MRI scans.
  • Placed in a locked knee brace incorrectly and left in the said brace for a total of 2 months causing more, severe damage.
  • Arthroscopy carried out 2 months after the accident.
  • Once Athroscopy carried out, correct diagnosis made, my knee was not ‘repaired’.
  • Not once to this date have I met my NHS consultant or been able to ‘consult’ directly with him.
  • No aftercare. I was allowed to go home but was not given any information after my operation as to the findings.
  • At each follow up appointment my knee was never physically looked at or checked upon.
  • I was only given one half-hour appointment of physiotherapy a week. Not nearly enough for someone that was in my position.
  • Only with me pushing and pushing did I finally get my name down on an ‘urgent’ list for an MUA. [Manipulation under anaesthetic]
  • I was given my urgent MUA date for three months later. By this time I was already in the hands of the private medical care profession.
  • After seeking private medical care I was off the crutches and having intensive physiotherapy and walking after 1 month.


Below is my experience of the Private care that I experienced compared to that above.

  • Seen extremely quickly.
  • Friendly professional staff at the end of the phone. Always happy to answer any questions. Never felt rushed on the phone. They made me feel that I was actually important to them.
  • No cancellation of appointments. Every appointment went smoothly, on time and my Private Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Ian McDermott, answered every single question in layman’s terms, explaining everything that would be done to me and what I would need.
  • Examined thoroughly.
  • Booked in for a MUA and another Arthroscopy within 2 weeks.
  • Introduced to the people that would be involved in my operation like the anaesthetic technician. I was able to ask him any questions that I may have had.
  • Aftercare was second to none. After my operation I was seen by my actual surgeon and told what was found and what would happen next and most importantly what was now expected of me to help me walk again.
  • Intensive physiotherapy as soon as I was out of the operation. Yes it hurt but no pain no gain. I certainly noticed a massive difference with what I could do with my knee and leg straight away after my knee was ‘cleaned up’ inside. The MUA under general anaesthetic was managed correctly and a full ROM [range of motion] was gained.
  • The care in the private hospital was second to none. Everyone was polite and courteous, happy and helpful. The surroundings were very clean and comfortable. The food was lovely. The physiotherapist was hard on me but she had to be and she was great to work with. This physiotherapy was very intense which I needed after being left so long under the NHS.
  • The surgeon was extremely professional, informative, happy and helpful and made sure I knew what I had to do to get better.
  • The aftercare once I was allowed to go home was everything you would want. Any questions I had or fears etc I was able to call my private surgeon or email him and he would always reply straight away with the information that I required. Even 2 years on if I email him he will always respond and actually remembers who I am as a person and not just a name on a list.
  • I was off the crutches after a month and carried on my own intensive physiotherapy at home and with a private sports therapist in my home town.  I now have a full ROM and am even able to hyperflex my leg, something that was not a possibility under NHS care.
  • From my experience if I was unfortunate enough to do this to my other knee I would not even bother going to the NHS. I would call the same surgeon I had deal with me and get booked in straight away. Yes, you pay privately but please, take it from me, you definitely get what you pay for.  I would not hesitate even for a second as I know I will be seen and dealt with professionally, quickly and will get the best end result a lot quicker than going to the NHS.


Written by Mrs G.B.
March 2012