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Self-pay step-by-step guide

Our easy six-step guide tells you everything you need to know about how to book your private consultation, what to expect from your experience at a private hospital, and flexible ways of paying for treatment with Circle Health Group

male doctor showing male patient medical notes on digital tablet
It's easier than you think to access private treatment without the need for health insurance.

Our six-step process covers how you can pay for the treatment you need, when you need it. At Circle Health Group, you can pay for yourself (also known as self-pay or self-funding) for any of our treatments, at any of our hospitals. You can either pay in full or use one of our flexible payment plans to spread the cost across smaller monthly instalments.

Our step-by-step guide will tell you everything you need to know about accessing private healthcare on a pay-as-you-go basis. However, if you have insurance, read our guide to paying for healthcare with private health insurance.

Going private with Circle Health Group

Your private healthcare journey begins when you need to see a specialist (usually a consultant). Whether you have decided this for yourself or been advised by a healthcare professional, it can be a stressful time for you.

When you go private, you get fast access to a specialist. At Circle Health Group we don't have long waiting lists for consultations or for treatment. You'll usually be able to book an appointment within two or three days of getting in touch, and the whole process of treatment will move as quickly as it needs to.

In this guide, we'll cover:

  • How to book an appointment with one of our specialists
  • What to expect from this initial consultation
  • How to book your treatment with us
  • How to pay your bill for treatment
  • What to expect when you come to hospital
  • Our commitment to enhanced aftercare and recovery
  • Flexible payment options that can help you spread the cost of treatment

Going private is simple when you choose Circle Health Group.

The first step is booking your private consultation. There are three ways you can do this:

1. With a GP referral letter

Some consultants will ask for a referral letter from your GP before they can book you in for an appointment. This is normally so that they can double-check that their medical expertise meets your needs (as confirmed by your GP's recommendation).

To find out if you will need a GP referral letter, call our friendly team of advisors on 0808 301 8606 or make an email enquiry. Tell them which consultant you would like to have treatment with, or which hospital you prefer, and they will let you know whether you need a GP referral letter.

If you do need a referral letter, speak to your GP surgery. You will usually need to have an appointment to discuss the referral, though sometimes this can be done over the phone. Either way, you should tell your GP that you want to go private with Circle Health Group, and share your research into which hospital and consultant you would like to see. They will take this into consideration when they refer you to a consultant.

Once you have your referral letter, you can book your chosen specialist through our easy online booking system.

2. With a referral from virtual GP service Livi

If you don't want to wait for an appointment with your regular GP, you can use Livi to get a same-day virtual appointment with a GP, who can usually give you a referral letter within minutes. Digital healthcare provider Livi offers flexible appointment times to suit your schedule.

Benefits include:

  • Video appointments available 7 days a week - even evenings and weekends
  • See a GP the same day, usually in minutes, or book a time that suits you
  • Prescriptions sent to your local pharmacy the same day
  • Get referrals for specialist care quickly
  • A consultation price of just £20 – with no hidden charges

3. Self-referral (without a GP letter):

If you're paying for your own treatment, you can often book a private consultation without a GP referral letter, giving you even faster access to expert treatment.

Our friendly team of advisors can answer any questions about self-referral requirements before you book, simply give them a call on 0808 301 8606. Or, if you have already been advised that you can self-refer, simply book online using our our consultant finder.

Your initial consultation is a very important part of having private treatment with Circle Health Group. This is where your consultant will get to know you, your condition and symptoms, and where you will get to know your consultant.

The appointment will usually involve an analysis of your medical history as well as a physical examination. Your consultant might decide that you need scans or tests in order to confirm a diagnosis. For example an X-ray or some blood tests. If so, usually you'll be asked to come back at a later date to have these done. If you do need diagnostic tests, you might need a follow-up appointment with your consultant to discuss the results.

Once a diagnosis has been made, your consultant will talk you through their findings and what treatment options they recommend. Once you've both decided on the best course of action, they can tell you the cost of treatment, which will usually be in the form of a fixed-price package.

If you need surgery, your consultant will suggest when this could take place. Otherwise, you will leave your consultation with a series of treatment options to consider before receiving a letter at home, confirming your diagnosis and options.

Your consultant may confirm that you do not need further treatment after identifying your health issue. In this instance, you can return home with your query resolved.

After your consultation and if you're happy with your recommended treatment plan and price package, we will schedule an appropriate treatment date for you.

We try and be as flexible as possible when it comes to scheduling treatment, so do talk to our team about what works best for you.

Your consultant will send you a bill for the cost of your initial consultation. The price of this is payable directly to your consultant, who will let you know the best way to pay.

The rest of your treatment is paid for directly to Circle Health Group, and we require full payment in advance. We'll send a bill and give you all the information you need to pay, so it should be a straightforward process.

There are two ways to pay for your treatment with Circle:

1. Pay in full in one go

You can pay the full price of your treatment in one go, using one of the following three methods:

Pay by telephone

Payment for a treatment can be made at any time via our automated payment line on 0808 301 8606.

Pay by post

You can send a cheque made payable to BMI Healthcare Collections. Please ensure that your hospital account number and invoice number are clearly written on the back of your cheque.

Pay online

You can use our quick and easy to use online payment page to pay for pending treatment, or treatment you have already had.

Read our full guide to paying your bill.

2. Spread the cost using a loan from Chrysalis Finance

If you would rather pay monthly for your private treatment, you can take advantage of our flexible payment options, offered in partnership with Chrysalis Finance.

This allows you to spread the cost of treatment over a period of your choice, from 12 months to five years, with interest-free credit on the first year. Our flexible payment options page can tell you more.

The next step in your self-pay journey is to undergo treatment.

Whichever treatment option you need, our multidisciplinary team of specialist healthcare professionals offer expert care throughout your journey.

Find out what to expect when visiting Circle Health Group hospitals for treatment (for an overnight stay, or just for the day).

The final step in your private healthcare journey is getting better. At Circle Health Group, we are here to support you throughout your recovery. We want you to recover as quickly and as fully as possible.

When your consultant puts together a treatment plan, they will have taken into consideration what support you will need during your recovery. You might need a course of medicine from our onsite pharmacy, or sessions with one of our chartered physiotherapists. Often we will schedule follow-up consultations to make sure everything is going as expected.

The cost of up to six months of aftercare is included in all our fixed price packages. This allows you to focus on getting better without having to worry about unexpected costs.

This is your private healthcare journey, paid for by you. You should feel in control and in the loop at all times.

From your initial GP appointment right through to your aftercare, no question is unnecessary. Useful questions to ask your consultant along the way include:

  • Why do I need this particular treatment?
  • How does private healthcare work?
  • How do I pay for my surgery?
  • Why do I need this particular test or examination?
  • What are the main benefits of this treatment or test?
  • How much will this treatment, test or additional examination cost?
  • What are the main benefits of this form of aftercare?
  • Do you offer a cost breakdown prior to consultations?

If you are unsure about your invoice total following diagnostic testing during your consultation or at any other stage of your journey, ask your consultant or our nursing team for a cost breakdown consistently throughout each stage.

Cost-specific questions are always welcome.

We've answered some common questions about going private for healthcare without paying for private health insurance.

Is private healthcare worth it?

At Circle Health Group, we believe health is wealth, and that choosing to pay for private treatment is a great investment in your quality of life.

Learn more about the many benefits of private healthcare.

How do you go private for healthcare?

If this guide hasn't told you everything you need to know about going private with Circle Health Group, simply give our team a call on 0808 301 8606 and we'll answer any questions you have.

Does paying for healthcare mean I can't use the NHS any more?

Absolutely not. You can move between self-pay private medical treatment (UK) and the national health service as much as you like. If you are currently having NHS treatment and would like to switch to private healthcare, just give us a call. It may even be that you can stay with the same consultant.

How much is private healthcare (UK)?

The cost of private healthcare is different for every person. For more information about how we charge, as well as guide prices for some of our most common procedures, read our guide to self-pay prices.

We offer flexible payment options that can make the price of private healthcare very affordable, spreading the cost over anywhere from 12 months to five years.

How much are private healthcare consultation fees?

Our consultants each set their own prices, so the fee for your initial consultation will depend on which specialist you choose. Some charge around £200, others more and others less.

The cost of your initial consultation will be confirmed before booking, so you know ahead of time how much you will need to pay.

After your initial consultation, if you choose to pay for your own treatment, the price of any further consultations will usually be included in your fixed-price package.

Find out more about our self-pay option and the flexible payment plans available.

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