Why should I consider private eye treatment?
We are privileged in England to have access to the National Health Service that provides fully comprehensive care with very high standard. Patients have chosen to see private care in my experience for a few reasons:
This has been primary because they want their care in the hands of one consultant. They don’t like the fact that they vary between a consultant or a trainee in the National Health Service. Even though the quality of the service may be very good, that for them does not provide them with the assurance that they need. That’s a very individual choice.
Some patients choose to access private care when they want aspects of care that are not available in the National Health Service. For example, the use of premium multifocal lenses or lenses that correct astigmatism in cataract surgery. This is for a greater degree of spectacle independence.
Patients may also need to seek private health care if their treatment is not necessarily covered in the National Health Service. There are some limited restrictions on the use of high-cost drugs in macular degeneration. Patients whose vision is better than 6/12 are ineligible for this, and that’s a very frightening prospect, as they want to be able to maintain their vision to the highest standard.
Patients with vision worse than 6/96 are also ineligible for treatment on the NHS. There have been instances where patients have had just one or two injections in the private sector and have had their visual restored sufficiently to continue treatment in the National Health Service in the long term.
The last reason I can think of that patients would seek our private care, is care at the time that they want it and not just when it’s available.
Some of my patients frequently travel, some of my patients want to go on a special holiday and have their surgery in time for that, or after that. This degree of flexibility is not necessarily available to them in standard care.