We look forward to welcoming you to our hospital while you have a treatment or procedure. We know that hospitals stays can be nerve-wracking and we will make yours as comfortable as possible. We have outlined answers to some frequently asked questions to help you.

What to expect

What to expect

How is private patient treatment different to NHS treatment?

Most people who opt for private treatment prefer the greater degree of flexibility and choice - choosing your own doctor and having your treatment or procedure at a time and place convenient to you.

We also offer an enhanced “hotel” service to in-patients which means you are guaranteed private accommodation and facilities. In fact, this is a condition of our accreditation from insurance companies as we have to guarantee an enhanced experience.

Within a “mixed” hospital like St Bartholomew's, some services will be shared where it’s not practical to have entirely dedicated areas such as in intensive care or high dependency units. Other resources will be shared too, such as surgical theatre spaces and nursing may be shared. This very rarely has any impact on private treatment, because schedules and staffing levels are built to accommodate both NHS and private treatment.

We do our private work as well as our NHS work, not instead of and we only offer private services if it does not impact on our NHS work. So while a private patient may be seen sooner than they would if they were an NHS patient, this does not mean that NHS patients have a longer wait.

Please note: Providing private patient services in the Trust does not put NHS patients in any form of disadvantage. The NHS Code of Conduct for private patient services clearly prescribes that private patient care must not prejudice NHS patients or disrupt NHS services and the Trust abides by this. No NHS patient’s care is compromised as a result of another patient having a private treatment. Private patient care is only provided as extra after the planned volume of NHS activity has been completed.

Will I have my own room?

As a private patient you will stay in a private room*. You will have a fully accessible en-suite bathroom or shower and an armchair. You will have your own television and access to free Wifi, with regular refreshments and choice for your meals.

We understand how important your privacy is, and our priority will always be to ensure that you are cared for in your own room. However, there are very rare occasions where this is not possible such as in an emergency if you were moved onto our intensive care or high dependency units.

How can I get referred?

You will need to be referred to our services by a doctor – whether your local GP or another one that you have seen in a hospital. Your doctor will usually refer you to a specific doctor in one of our hospitals.

Is there car parking at St Bartholomew’s Hospital?

Unfortunately due to the hospitals close proximity to central London there is no parking provided for patients.  There is an NCP car park near West Smithfield.  There is a visitor drop off facility via the Giltspur Street (EC1A 9DE) entrance

Coming to hospital

Where should I go?

Your appointment letter or card will tell you which floor and ward to go to when you arrive. If for any reason you do not have this, please let us know.

What should I do on arrival?

We can arrange for you to be met in reception by one of the private patient team who will show you to your room if you let us know in advance that you need this service. Otherwise please make your way to the relevant ward where you will be taken to your room. We usually ask patients to come in early for their appointments so that the nursing team can make any final observations and prepare you for treatment.

As our hospitals are in central London where transport can be unpredictable, we suggest that patients leave plenty of time to get to the hospital.

Is it okay to ask lots of questions?

Absolutely! We want you to be involved in your health and to play an active part in decision making. We will always make time to listen and to explain anything you don’t understand, so please speak up if you have any queries or concerns – we will always make time to listen and explain things as many times as you need us to. We know that some patients like to have a family member or friend with them and you are very welcome to bring someone along to support you and to help you remember what was said.

Do you need my consent before surgery or treatment?

Yes, we do. We would never go ahead with any treatment or surgery without your permission, and you have the right to refuse any treatments or examinations. Your consultant will talk you through any risks and concerns you might have and ask you to sign your consent. Staff will always act in your best interests.

What should I do if I have any fears or concerns?

We are here to listen to them, so please do make sure you speak to us. We want all our patients to know that we are here to discuss these feelings and we will always make time to explain anything you are unclear about.

Can my relatives stay with me?

No additional beds are allowed in rooms, though in some circumstances (to be agreed with the senior nursing staff on your ward) relatives may be able to stay in one of the chairs in the room.

What do I need to bring with me?

Most needs will be catered for. However, we recommend that you bring plenty of personal entertainment (books, tablets / laptops etc). If you are staying longer that one night, slippers and dressing gown and night wear are advisable, as are comfortable clothes for when you leave the hospital. Towels are provided, but please bring toiletries.

You should also bring your completed undertaking to pay forms with you at admission. 

Should I bring my medication?

Please bring any medications that you have been proscribed. Nurses or doctors will advise you whether to carry on taking these whilst you are in hospital.

Your stay in hospital

Can I use my mobile in my room?

Usually yes. We ask you to avoid using mobiles in areas of the hospital where there is sensitive medical equipment, so please check with a member of staff that it is safe to use yours.

Can I get post?

Yes, post is delivered every day and a member of the ward staff will bring your mail to you. To avoid delays, please ask your relatives and friends to use your full name, and the full address of the hospital. We can also collect mail if you want to send outgoing mail.

What is my estimated day of discharge?

You will usually know how long you are staying with us and everyone works towards making sure you are home at that time, presuming all aspects of your treatment go as planned. You will know in advance if you need to have a friend or relative with you while you travel.

What’s the food like?

You get a varied choice and the daily menus have been devised by chefs who know that you expect tasty, healthy food. We can cater to all religious, ethical or dietary requirements and preferences (eg, Halal, Kosher, vegetarian). Drinks are served throughout the day, or on request. You can eat your meal in a calm, peaceful environment as staff will avoid interrupting unless you call for their assistance. We can even ask your visitors to wait outside if you prefer!

Can others eat with me?

Food is only provided for patients on wards. There are a range of on-site facilities where a choice of food and drinks can be provided for.

What happens next?

Can you provide a medical certificate?

If you’re going to need a medical certificate for your employer or for National Insurance purposes, please discuss this with a member of staff as soon as you can so that this doesn’t delay you leaving the hospital.

Why do you need my contact details?

When you leave, the staff will ask for your address and contact telephone numbers (if you haven’t already supplied them). If you are not returning home immediately, please let the staff know your plans.

Why do you need emergency contact details?

You’ll be given details of whom to contact in the unlikely event that there is an emergency relating to your treatment here.

What happens if I need more medicines?

We will give you a supply of any medicines you may need and information on how to get repeat prescriptions if you need them.

What is a discharge letter?

You will be given a letter, called a discharge letter, giving brief details of your stay in hospital, any medicines you have been advised to take and information about your discharge (leaving hospital) arrangements. Your GP will also receive a copy of this.

Will I need follow up appointments?

If you need to come back for follow-up care, an appointment will usually be made before you leave the ward. If not, we’ll send you a letter to invite you back.