Your insurer may tell you that they will not fund long-term follow-up of established cardiac conditions. They will usually allow a few appointments within six months of a diagnosis of a new cardiac problem, or a worsening of a previously diagnosed condition. Insurers believe that your GP should be able to monitor your medication once you are on stable treatment. This will particularly affect patients who have yearly or six-monthly appointments to monitor a cardiac problem.
Private patients have a few options when this occurs:
- See your GP for monitoring and treatment of your heart condition. Your GP may refer you back to the Consultant if your condition seems to be getting worse, or if there is an issue with treatment that your GP cannot solve. This type of referral will usually be funded by insurers.
- Ask your GP to refer you to your Consultant's NHS clinic. For some conditions this clinic will see you yearly or six-monthly, but more stable patients will be discharged back to their GP or a Specialist Nurse. You will not always see your Consultant, but trainees are supervised by the Consultant.
- Self-fund your follow-up appointments.
- If costly tests or procedures are needed you should decide whether to self-fund these or ask your GP to refer you. You can either have the tests privately if you are experiencing new or worsening symptoms, or on the NHS, if the tests are for monitoring.
Insurers impose these restrictions to make insurance affordable and to ensure that they remain profitable.
Do speak to your insurer, especially if you are feeling unwell. They are usually helpful and will tell you if your private medical treatment will be funded.
Do ask your Consultant how much tests and treatments will cost, especially if you are self-funding. Your Consultant will be able to advise you on how to access affordable healthcare.