What is a Private Scan?
A private scan is a medical imaging examination undertaken by a private healthcare provider where the cost of the examination is undertaken solely by the patient or through a private health insurance. There are numerous private diagnostic imaging providers that offer various scans including private ultrasound, CT and MRI scans.
What is a Medical Scan?
A medical scan is a medical imaging investigation employed to diagnose any internal abnormalities of the human body that in turn can explain the reason for any health symptoms someone might be experiencing.
Different types of scans
There are various kinds of diagnostic scans but the most common are:
The ultrasound scan, mostly associated with pregnancy scans, uses high frequency sound waves to obtain internal images of your organs. The scan uses no radiation and it is not known to be harmful to adults and most important it is safe to the unborn babies. You can find more information about ultrasound scans.
Unlike the ultrasound scan, the CT scan uses radiation to obtain images of the internal organs and can be used in cases where ultrasound offers suboptimal diagnostic information. Due to radiation risk, CT scans are limited to patients where the diagnosis outweighs the risks from the radiation.
The MRI scanner uses magnetic fields to obtain the required diagnostic information.
Can I pay for a scan?
Yes, you can pay to have a private scan but CT and MRI investigations will require a doctor’s request. The majority of the ultrasound scan clinics do not require a doctor’s referral.
How much an ultrasound scan cost?
Ultrasound scan prices vary quite significantly throughout the UK and mostly in London. The average price is however roughly between £100 and £300.
Private hospitals will charge significantly more than a private ultrasound clinic run by NHS sonographers. This can sometimes be more than 3 times.
You also need to be aware of any hidden costs.
The quality of the scan is also of outmost importance as some ultrasound clinics offer significantly discounted examinations, raising concerns not only about the quality of the service but also the diagnostic accuracy of the results.
Why should I have a private ultrasound scan?
The main reason patients choose to have a private ultrasound scan in London instead of one provided for free by the NHS is that the waiting times can be very long. Most NHS providers aim to offer an ultrasound examination within 6 weeks. It is unfortunately very common these days to hear stories of patients waiting for more than 6 weeks. This wait can have a significant impact on the patients’ health management.
Another reason the patient chose to go private is convenience. Although the NHS is slowly changing, most imaging departments operate between 9 and 5 which is not always suitable for our fast-paced and busy lifestyles.
You might want to also read our article recommended a private scan during the Covid-19 outbreak.
How to choose a private ultrasound clinic?
There are so many ultrasound clinics in London offering scans that makes it very difficult to choose the best.
What should you look for when you are choosing an ultrasound clinic?
- Care Quality Commission registration
- Independent reviews to find out what users think about the service they received.
- If the sonographers or radiologists are experienced and knowledgable.
- How long they have been offering ultrasound services?
Author– Yianni Kiromitis PgC Medical Ultrasound, BSc(Hons) – Medical Ultrasound Practitioner
Specialities: Abdomen, Small Parts, Gynaecology/Obstetrics and Vascular…
Yianni Kiromitis is a London based NHS and Private Medical Sonographer, with more than 20 years’ experience in Healthcare.
Reviewed: 07/04/2020 by Yianni Kiromitis PgC Medical Ultrasound, BSc(Hons) and Tareq Ismail Pg (Dip) Medical Ultrasound, BSc(Hons)