Private medical insurance provides fast access to consultations and treatment. Patients would normally expect to be treated in a dedicated private hospital, but the NHS also have private facilities, so how do these compare?
The Kingston Wing at the Yeovil District Hospital
Private Patients Service Manager, Hannah Pitman was kind enough to tell us more.
The Kingston Wing is attached to the main NHS hospital and offers private health services to both insured and ‘self-pay’ patients. We were greeted at the front desk and seated in a comfortable waiting area equipped with free tea and coffee facilities. On first impressions, the facilities are smart, tastefully decorated and the ward seems calm, well-staffed and organised.
We’re surprised to learn that the wing is soon due for refurbishment to an even higher standard.
Parking and Visiting Hours.
We’re told that private patients at the Kingston Wing benefit from free parking, and longer visiting hours.
The wing has 13 bedrooms, a suite of consulting rooms and lounges. We view a vacant private bedroom and whilst an overnight stay in hospital is never a desirable experience a patient at the Kingston Wing will enjoy the privacy of their own room with its own TV (complete with Freeview and shortly Netflix too), WiFi connection, telephone and en-suite bathroom plus lots of other little home-comforts such as complimentary newspapers, gowns, quilts, earplugs and eye masks.
We are also shown a varied al-la-carte menu and told that guests are welcome to dine with patients at mealtimes. Tea and cakes are also provided.
We were interested to learn that patients in the NHS hospital have the option to ‘upgrade’ to a private room (where available) for a set fee of £395/night. They can then benefit from the privacy and comfort of the private facilities whilst receiving treatment via the NHS. This service is only available if rooms are not allocated to fully private patients.
Looking after You.
We’re told that the Kingston Wing has dedicated staff and a generous ratio of nurses to patients. We’re also pleasantly surprised to learn that Hannah’s team will often deal directly with a patient’s insurance company, gaining pre-authorisation for treatments to minimise the risk of shortfalls and smoothing the patients progress.
Whilst the surroundings may not be as large or quite as plush as some of the other Private Hospitals we’ve visited it’s also better than some too, it is very comfortable and the staff are all friendly, knowledgeable and extremely capable.
Most private hospitals don’t cater for emergencies so if a complication arose during a procedure the patient would need to be moved by ambulance to the nearest emergency room. A patient at the Kingston Wing would simply be moved to another part of Yeovil Hospital. Extra security and reassurance.
Supporting the NHS.
Another excellent reason is that all profits from NHS private facilities go straight back into the NHS and we learn that revenues from the Kingston Wing go back into the NHS to support patient care.
Many thanks to Hannah and all the staff for our guided tour, the overwhelming impression that we got from our visit was that the Kingston Wing compares extremely favourably to the offerings of a dedicated private hospital.