NHS or private?

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I'm currently in the NHS system and received my diagnosis on 31 May. I was then sent for an MRI following which I am now awaiting an appointment for a biopsy on a lymph node that was bigger than normal. Haven't received a date through for that appointment yet but have been told it 'might' be 20 June. Presume results will take another week to come back and consultant is saying once she has all the test information back surgery is likely to be another 4 weeks after that (end July time).

I have private healthcare through my employer and am now wondering if I should jump the NHS ship and go privately. Has any one else changed over half way through the diagnosis period? How did you find it? Did you have to have all the tests done again or does the private consultant request results from NHS? I'd love to hear your thoughts if you have been in a similar situation.

Thank you.

  • I was diagnosed on NHS but same as you , my husband has private healthcare.

    I was told 6 weeks for op on NHS but privately  I had it excactly 2 weeks later.

    The delay was getting an MRI , as there is a wait for NHS and private in my area. I had the same surgeon as I would have had on NHS.

    10 days after diagnosis, I had MRI Monday, marker Thursday , op Friday.

    Results were back 10 days later, luckily no nodes and clear margins. 

    When I had a lump investigated 18 months ago, the private clinic could access my NHS mamograms, so I assume that they can do the same for MRIs . 

    I woudl say that it was a relief to know that I would have my results quickly and know when my next appointment was going to be .

  • I've gone the other way.

    NHS doc referred me to NHS hospital, from referral to appointment was 5 and half weeks. So I paid private, don't have insurance, had the tests, I was told I had BC, 11 days later I got the biopsy results.

    On biopsy results day (4thJune) they referred me back to the NHS, I don't need to have the tests repeated.

    Incidently my original referral appointment was not until tomorrow.

    If you can go private, I would just to speed things up. Plus it releases your appointment to someone else xx

  • That’s what my BC nurse said when I was deliberating . I could have gone back to NHS for radiotherapy but I knew there was a long wait Cry

  • I was initially referred via NHS and had the ultrasound and biopsy under NHS. When I got the results I transferred to private as husband has cover. I had my surgery under Private as could have my own room and stay overnight. I saw the same doctor at the Marsden as they have both private and NHS treatment. I was advised  the treatment is the same but it would be quicker and more organised. 

  • Thanks klf. It's the not knowing when anything is going to happen that I find hard. I'm a planner by nature so the uncertainty is increasing my anxiety.

    It's good to know that your NHS mammogram was accessible too.

    Thanks for your response.

  • I do like the idea of the enhanced level of comfort going private and good to hear you had your treatment sooner.

    Thanks for your reply.

  • That was the main thing for me . 

  • Hi sorry to hear what you're going through. Sending you strength. I was being tested through NHS and then work approved private. Once I'd selected a surgeon, they contact NHS and obtain all the info and results. So they don't start from the beginning. Best of luck x

  • Hi Sievehead

    I had initial appointments - mammograms, ultrasound, breast lump biopsy, lymph node biopsy & MRI with NHS then transferred over to private from then on as I have private healthcare with AXA through my employer. 

    Not sure how long my treatments I’ve had since would’ve taken or been like if I’d stayed on NHS but my experience of private since has been very good. Since MRI 12/1/24 I have had numerous consultations direct with main consultant (which is likely to have been the same consultant on NHS although I’m told you don’t always see them, you see other doctors under them often). Treatment has been:

    2/2 lumpectomy to remove 36mm lump & in same operation I had 15 lymph nodes removed of which 3 tested positive fir cancer. Had own room for this. 
    19/2 second op to remove more cells as cancer was found in ones taken in first op plus I had an infection in breast that needed draining & flushing. Had own room for this again. 
    16/4 started chemo (delayed due to waiting to make sure my infection had totally cleared or would’ve been sooner) which has so far been 3 rounds of EC & now have 3 rounds of Docetaxel to go after which I will need radiotherapy. Only ever 1 or 2 people having chemo same time with 2 nurses looking after you.

    The breast cancer nurses team have been extremely good with a 24hr phone No you can text or speak to one of them both with team that deal with surgery/follow up appointments & now the chemo nurses (which also have the 24hr phone). 
    when I was having problems after first surgery due to infection I was seen either same day or next to have ultrasounds/drains or to see the consultant/nurses. Now with the chemo the main consultant is phoning after each chemo session to check all’s well. 

    I can’t comment on how private would be with yourself or if NHS would’ve been any different but my experience so far with the private hospital I’m attending & the treatment I’ve had to date has been impressive & has made this awful cancer journey we are all on much more bearable. 

    All the best 

    Sanguine x

  • Hi

    I switched to private after the 2nd mammogram ultrasound and biopsy. My new consultant had all the nhs results. I think the main advantages are speed and flexibility. My consultant was happy to schedule my surgery the day after my daughters graduation so I could go to that and when it was decided I needed a 2nd surgery I had it done within 1 week of the test results coming back. My radiotherapy was booked to finish in time that I could still go on a pre booked summer holiday. Other benefits are just a nicer hospital stay and you always see the consultant rather than a member of the team. If you can switch I would recommend it for peace of mind that things are progressing as fast as they can