Ear Issues on the NHS vs Private

Discussion in 'Support' started by nb888, Oct 21, 2021.

    1. nb888

      nb888 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 and 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infections
      Hi there.

      This is not specifically a tinnitus issue but I would guess a lot of people on these forums that have tinnitus also have other issues of various complexity with their ears so may be able to provide some guidance...

      I have had issues with tinnitus / hearing loss / ear infections / ear pain for a few years now and have learned to live with things.

      The main issue I have is when I get an ear infection my experience with the NHS pathway is varied to say the least and recently has been poor.

      In the latest case my GP wasn't available to see me (my local practice is one of the worst in the area but that is another story) so I had to make other arrangements, to cut a long story short I did eventually get a course of 2 sets of antibiotics however I felt that if things had been dealt with differently right from the start of the pathway then any risk of any permanent damage may have been reduced.

      So my question is, if I go from start to end of the pathway starting with seeing a GP on a private same day appointment at a cost of upwards of £95, then get a referral for more tests if appropriate at a cost of £?? would it be likely that I would a) be seen quicker and b) if I wanted more tests (eg to test for a middle ear infection) at my cost would this be more likely to be entertained and would this take place relatively quickly? If I wanted to see an ear specialist would I have access to one relatively quickly rather than a nurse or GP who understands little about specific ear problems and just want me to get out of the door as quickly as possible?

      I have seen this thread

      Faster ENT Appointments in the UK? They Are Saying I Have to Wait 17 Weeks!

      which seems to be focused more on tinnitus solely rather than the whole health of the ear overall.

      I know the NHS have to be seen to be providing best value which is why they don't provide certain things, but my personal experiences of the last few years have made me a bit wary of continuing to use them for my condition. Obviously private will come at a cost but if there is negligible benefit then the NHS it will have to continue to be... maybe time to move to another country!
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi @nb888.

      On the thread you have highlighted I have given my reasons for not going private for tinnitus treatment in the UK as they cannot match the NHS. The best help and aftercare for tinnitus will be under the NHS because tinnitus in many instances is not a quick fix.

      There are some advantages seeking private treatment but not for a condition that is long term. Granted, you will probably see a specialist quicker going private and if treatment is a quick fix that's fine. However, this may not be the case with anything concerning the ear and auditory system as they are extremely delicate. It's nothing like having a one off operation and that's it with no long term aftercare. Think carefully. I have been an out-patient on the NHS for over 20 years and had good treatment.

      All the best,
    3. Damocles
      No Mood

      Damocles Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otitis media
      What NHS?

      By what means do you contact it and how do you get an appointment with anyone working in it, unless you're experiencing the symptoms of a very popular cold virus?

      "COVID-19" (whether as bad as the mainstream media have made it out to be, or not) has ticked yet another prize-winning box for the mega-wealthy, by putting the final nail in the coffin of free healthcare in the UK (something our "elite" have been trying to do for years).

      Your question simply perplexes me, as neither me nor my family have been able to land an appointment with an NHS doctor - and have had to go private for all our consultations- since January 2020.

      Were this question posted prior to that date, I would say to you: if you can afford the wait go with the NHS.

      The NHS is/was, f*cking marvellous (despite what grouchy Brits like to say) and full of thousands of extremely dedicated, talented and caring, doctors and nurses.

      Apart from expedited referral, you are getting nothing bigger or better by going private, other than the medical bill.

      That said, in the case of an Ear Infection, the pressing matter is that time is of the essence.

      In my case: I used to get frequent ear infections from overuse of earplugs. Every time I would make an appointment to see my regular GP, I'd explain the issue to the receptionist and that it was an emergency, and as they knew me so well, they would always see me (knowing my consultation would take all of 5 minutes: to check the ear and prescribe my go to medication).

      But if you can't get an appointment within a day or two with an ear infection, then yes, you're going to have to go private to be seen urgently, and that is what I would do (sitting in an A+E all night, like I used to when I couldn't get an appointment, isn't an option anymore, obviously).

      I'm certain that if I were to get an Ear Infection over the next year (despite not having had one in about 5) I would now have to pay for a private consultation (circumstances being what they are).
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