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davidtrump

Patient experience in UK

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Patient experience
A patient needing specialist care at a hospital or clinic, will be informed by the GP of the hospitals where they can get their treatment. This choice usually includes public and private hospitals. The NHS will pay for treatment in a private setting if the hospital meets the cost and service criteria that NHS hospitals adhere to. Otherwise opting for a private hospital makes the patient liable for private hospital fees. Because the private sector often has higher costs, most people choose to be treated for free in an NHS hospital. If the GP judges the case to be extremely urgent, the doctor may by-pass the normal booking system and arrange an emergency admission. The median wait time for a consultant led first appointment in English hospitals is a little over 3 weeks.

Patients can be seen by the hospital as out-patients or in-patients, with the latter involving overnight stay. The speed of in-patient admission is based on medical need and time waiting with more urgent cases faster though all cases will be dealt with eventually. Only about one third of hospital admissions are from a waiting list. For those not admitted immediately, the median wait time for in-patient treatment in English hospitals is a little under 6 weeks.

Trusts are working towards an 18-week guarantee that means that the hospital must complete all tests and start treatment within 18 weeks of the date of the referral from the GP. Some hospitals are introducing just in time workflow analysis borrowed from manufacturing industry to speed up the processes within the system and improve efficiencies.

Almost all NHS hospital treatment is free of charge along with drugs administered in hospital, surgical consumables and appliances issued or loaned. However, if a patient has chosen to be treated in an NHS hospital as a private fee paying patient by arrangement with his consultant, the patient (or the insurance company) will be billed. This can happen because at the inception of the NHS, hospital consultants were allowed to continue doing private work in NHS hospitals and can enable private patients to "jump the NHS queue". This arrangement is nowadays quite rare as most consultants and patients choose to have private work done in private hospitals.

Emergency Department (traditionally known as Accident and Emergency) treatment is also free of charge. A triage nurse prioritises all patients on arrival. Waiting times can be up to 4 hours if a patient goes to the Emergency Department with a minor problem or may be referred to other agencies (e.g. pharmacy, GP, Walk in clinic). Emergency Departments try to treat patients within 4 hours as part of NHS targets for emergency care.[citation needed] The Emergency Department is always attached to an NHS general hospital. Private hospitals do not provide emergency care services.

The NHS also provides end of life palliative care in the form of Palliative Care Specialist Nurses. The NHS can also commission the expertise of organisations in the voluntary sector to compliment palliative care. Such organisations include Marie Curie Cancer Care, Sue Ryder Care and Macmillan Cancer Support. Despite their names, these services are designed for all palliative conditions, not exclusively cancer. All palliative care services provide support for both the patient and their relatives during and after the dying process. Again, these are all free of charge to the patient.

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