Is private health insurance worth it?

We have the NHS; why would we need to pay more for our healthcare? It is a topic that has been discussed again and again. I have friends who would never buy it and I have friends who would never be without it. Two sides of the coin! So we have to ask the question, is private health insurance worth it?

These split opinions are caused by various factors including:

  • Political views
  • Financial position
  • Personal experience of the NHS
  • Family experience of the NHS
  • Good/Bad hospitals within the local area

So the answer to this question “is private medical insurance worth it?” really depends upon your own personal opinion.

Do you want to avoid the NHS waiting times?

When you become ill there is a procedure in place for you to obtain a diagnosis whether through the NHS or as a private patient.

You visit your GP, who may refer you to a specialist. Your specialist might need you to have diagnostic tests before any diagnosis can be made.

On the NHS there are time guidelines in place that should be followed. The maximum waiting time for non-urgent consultant led treatment is 18 weeks from when your appointment is booked. How would you feel about waiting 18 weeks?

Cancer treatment is different. The maximum waiting time for suspected cancer is 2 weeks from the date your appointment is booked through the NHS e-Referral Service, or when the hospital or service receives your referral letter. If you thought you had cancer, would you choose to wait up to 2 weeks?

What about cancellations of surgery? If your NHS surgery is cancelled on or after the day of your admission for non-clinical reasons, they should provide you with another date within 28 days. If the cancellation is before the date of admission the NHS are not obliged to provide another date within the 28 days.

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Private health insurance can help you to reduce these waiting times dramatically.  In many cases you can be seen by a consultant within days not weeks. You can choose which hospital or consultant you see and make an appointment at a time convenient for you.

Looking at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) Ratings:

If you need to have medical treatment you want to be using a hospital who scores well when assessed by the CQC. Looking at the hospitals close to us in Chelmsford on the current CQC ratings you may be surprised at the results.

The below hospitals are based in Essex. You can easily access the information for any hospital or provider of health or social care in England via the CQC website.

HospitalLocationRatingLast report date
Broomfield HospitalChelmsfordRequires Improvement31.07.2019
Springfield HospitalChelmsfordGood17.01.2019
Colchester GeneralColchesterRequires Improvement08.01.2020
The Oaks HospitalColchesterGood10.03.2017
Southend University HospitalSouthend-on-SeaRequires Improvement24.04.2018
Spire Wellesley HospitalSouthend-on-SeaGood12.09.2018


If you have health insurance in place, you could have access to facilities such as the London Bridge hospital where the current rating is “outstanding”.

Can you afford the monthly premiums for health insurance?

If you have disposable income available to you and would like to find out whether you would be able to afford private health insurance for you and your family (or your business) then the team at SMP Healthcare will be delighted to help you make your own decision as to whether private health insurance is worth it.

You can contact us by email:

or by telephone:

01245 929129 / Freephone 0800 047 0127