What is a Private Scan?
A private scan is a medical imaging examination undertaken by a private healthcare provider where the cost of the examination is undertaken solely by the patient or through a private health insurance provider. There is a large number of private diagnostic imaging providers that offer various scans including private ultrasound, CT and MRI scans.
What is a Scan?
A medical scan is a medical imaging investigation employed to diagnose any internal abnormality of the human body that can explain any health symptoms someone might be experiencing.
Different types of scans
There are various kinds of diagnostic scans but the most common are:
The ultrasound scan, mostly associated with pregnancy ultrasounds, is using sound waves to obtain internal images of your organs. Uses no radiation and it is not known to be harmful to adults and most important to unborn babies. You can find more information about ultrasound scans.
Unlike the ultrasound scan, the CT scan uses radiation to obtain images of the internal organs and can be used in cases where ultrasound offer suboptimal imaging information. Due to radiation risk, CT scans are limited to patients where the diagnosis outweighs the radiation risks from the scan.
The MRI scanner uses magnetic fields to obtain the required diagnostic information.
Can I pay for a scan?
Yes, you can pay to have a private scan but CT and MRI investigations will require a doctor's request. The majority of the ultrasound scan clinics do not require a doctors referral.
How much an ultrasound Scan cost?
Ultrasound scan prices vary quite significantly throughout the UK and mostly in London. The average price is however roughly between £100 and £200.
Private hospitals will charge significantly more than a private ultrasound clinic run by NHS sonographers. This can sometimes be more than 3 times. You also need to be aware of any hidden costs.
A few ultrasound clinics offer significantly discounted examinations, raising concerns not only about the quality of the service but also the diagnostic accuracy of the results.
Why should I have a private ultrasound scan?
The main reason patients choose to have a private ultrasound scan in London instead of one provided for free by the NHS is that the waiting times can be very long. Most NHS providers aim to offer an ultrasound examination within 6 weeks. It is unfortunately very common these days to hear stories of patients waiting for more than 6 weeks. This wait can have a significant impact on the patients' health management.
Another reason the patient chose to go private is convenience. Although the NHS is slowly changing, most imaging departments operate between 9 to 5 which is not always suitable for our fast-paced and busy lifestyles.
How to choose a private ultrasound clinic?
There are so many ultrasound clinics in London offering scans and mainly private ultrasounds that makes it very difficult to choose the best.
What should you look for when you choosing an ultrasound clinic?
- Care Quality Commission registration
- Independent reviews to find out what users think about the service they received.
- If the sonographers or radiologists are experienced and knowledgable.
- How long they have been offering ultrasound services?