In almost every sense, the first months of 2020 have been a period of prolonged uncertainty in the healthcare sector. With things beginning to return to normal, it is frequently unclear which services are set to become available when, and what rules you need to be following in order to use them safely. As your trusted insurance partner, we are here to provide you with the information and peace of mind that you need when it comes to your private health insurance.
As a private patient, there may be many reasons why you are anxious for your local hospital to reopen its doors – you might have had a treatment delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, you may be awaiting a consultation or you might simply have a health concern which needs to be addressed. This wait has now lasted for several months.
When the virus took hold in the UK in March and government lockdown measures began to be imposed, private hospitals across the country formed a partnership with the NHS, closing their doors and cancelling non-urgent treatments in order to maximise capacity for patients with coronavirus. The good news for our private healthcare customers is that now, many of these facilities are starting to welcome regular and routine patients once again.
When is my healthcare provider reopening its hospitals?
The exact timescale of reopening hospital facilities, rescheduling routine treatments and appointments and instigating a return to normal service depends upon your healthcare provider. At Heath Crawford we aim to provide clear, concise information that answers all our customers’ questions, so below you will find the latest details of what each provider is doing.
When are BMI Healthcare hospitals reopening to private patients?
BMI Healthcare is continuing to offer support to the NHS, but its hospitals are also now open to provide treatments for private patients. You can call 0808 163 1268 in order to book an initial appointment, or call their local hospital directly to reschedule a previous or cancelled appointment or procedure.
Remote appointments with consultants and physiotherapists are also available via phone or video, and are still encouraged where possible in order to support and protect the coronavirus response. GP appointments are by phone only at all centres except:
- BMI The Lincoln Hospital, which is offering phone and video GP appointments
- BMI The Kings Oak, Enfield, which is offering video GP appointments only
- BMI Sarum Road, Winchester, which is offering pre-booked face-to-face GP appointments
- BMI Syon Clinic, Brentford, which is offering walk-ins
Visiting at all BMI hospitals is also still suspended until further notice apart from in exceptional circumstances.
When are Spire Healthcare hospitals reopening to private patients?
Spire Healthcare is continuing to prioritise remote appointments wherever possible, and in the vast majority of cases, but its hospitals are open for face-to-face visits where necessary. Some procedures are still being delayed or cancelled as it continues in its efforts to support the NHS, but patients will be contacted where this is the case.
Any patients attending hospitals for surgery or other treatments are being screened for high temperatures (over 37.8) and asked to report any Covid-19 symptoms, as well as stating whether they have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace within the last 14 days. Those who report or display symptoms will be asked to return home and follow government guidance.
A full risk assessment is being carried out for any patient attending hospital who is over 70, pregnant or has an underlying health condition, and everyone on site is asked to maintain a social distance of two metres wherever possible. Visiting is also suspended until further notice at all Spire Healthcare facilities apart from in exceptional circumstances.
If you are a Spire Healthcare customer you can contact your provider with any enquiries by calling 0808 278 5458.
When are Nuffield Health hospitals reopening to private patients?
As it stands, Nuffield Health is continuing to make its 31 hospitals in England and Wales available to the NHS to support its efforts against Covid-19.
Its hospitals are now open for new referrals and staff are offering remote consultations to existing patients. Only patients meeting the criteria for ‘clinically appropriate’ diagnostic tests or procedures, as determined by Nuffield Health in conjunction with the NHS, are being offered face-to-face appointments. This means that at present, in-person contact at hospitals remains extremely limited and remote contact is the preferred method.
Free GP telephone services are being offered to patients while health assessments and other appointments are rescheduled.
If you are a Nuffield Health patient you can call 0333 355 8038 with any enquiries about its hospitals.
When are BUPA hospitals reopening to private patients?
BUPA health centres have been reopening across the country since 1 June, and the only place which has been subject to an ongoing delay is Leicester due to the localised lockdown in this area. Patients in Leicester are being contacted directly where their appointments or treatments are impacted.
A risk assessment has been conducted at all BUPA sites and control measures are in place in order to ensure the best possible protection from Covid-19. These include:
- Symptom screenings and temperature checks
- Face masks for everyone
- Protective screens
- PPE worn by all staff
- Social distancing of two metres wherever possible
- No walk-ins and staggered appointments
- One-way systems and clear signage
- Revised cleaning schedules
Remote consulting via video and webchat is being used for some services in order to reduce face-to-face contact. These include health assessments, which are now carried out at least partly remotely.
If you are an existing BUPA customer with questions about hospital visits, you can call 03456 090 111 or use the live chat function.
When are HCA Healthcare hospitals reopening to private patients?
HCA Healthcare is welcoming patients back to its hospitals and healthcare centres, but is still making virtual consultations available wherever possible in order to minimise travel and potential exposure to Covid-19.
All HCA’s hospital sites have a number of measures in place to protect all staff and patients.
- Screening all staff, patients and visitors for coronavirus symptoms and checking temperatures on arrival
- Asking patients taking part in invasive diagnostic tests or procedures to self-isolate for up to 14 days prior, and to take part in a swab test four days before attending
- Maintaining two-metre social distancing wherever possible
- Enhanced disinfection procedures and increased numbers of hand sanitiser stations
- Providing face masks to everyone on site
- Prohibiting visitors unless in exceptional circumstances
If you are a HCA Healthcare patient and have questions about your hospital appointment, you can call 020 3811 6957.
We are here to support you
At Heath Crawford we remain committed to offering our unwavering support to all of our customers. Although lockdown is easing, the situation around the Covid-19 pandemic remains unpredictable. We understand that every one of our customers is different and has their own unique concerns and needs with regards to coronavirus.