Write the theme tune, sing the theme tune... Private versus NHS

Day 637

The irony for those who have had no previous knee surgery is that when you really need to know about knee surgery, when you need to entrust a vital part of your body to a Knee Surgeon, you know nothing, and when things have gone in a less than satisfactory way, you then become expert.

I always used to believe that Private Medical Treatment was far superior to NHS, but in my experience it is not. The NHS relies on teamwork to report on an MRI scan, to doagnose the problem, to operate, and then in aftercare, and if there is a problem you will always be looked after.

By contrast, the 'I'll star in the show, write the theme tune, sing the theme tune...' approach of some private knee clinics means that the report on the MRI scan is done by the consultant, the diagnosis is done by the consultant, the recommendation of the operation is done by the consultant,m the surgery is done by the consultant, the aftercare is done by the consultant, and if you end up with a problem and  - like me - you want clarification  of a simple matter such as why I am in such pain and what is the answer, you may not receive it unless you travel to the clinic (in my case the round trip would have been over 200 miles) and spend hundreds of pounds on a consultation.

If the consultant recommends extremely aggressive treatment, the knee surgery 'virgin' may not even be aware that the treatment is considered aggressive until it is too late. There is no steadying second opinion to temper the surgeons enthusiasm for aggressive surgery. In the event of a complaint against a senior surgeon in a small One Stop Shop Knee Clinic, that senior surgeon may be a Director and major shareholder of that private knee clinic, and the complaint is likely to be dealt with by a close colleague of the person against which you have the complaint, who is probably also a Director and major shareholder of the clinic.

In my viewand with my experience, "One Stop Shops" for knee surgery should be approached with extreme caution. If anything goes wrong, they may cost you dear - and I mean more than money. The ideal is probably to get the diagnosis and recommendation of treatment from the NHS and then armed with that knowledge, buy the convenience of private health care armed with that knowledge. That way you have the security of a real NHS team diagnosis and the convenience of Private Surgery.

An interesting fact I discovered whilst investigating private Knee Clinics is that operations sometimes take place in theatres that do not have resuscitation equipment. If you require resuscitation during surgery at hospitals like these, the private clinic may have to call 999 to call an ambulance. Yes, really!

kneesurgeonvictim's picture