Self Funding Patients
Last Updated: March, 2019

A concept introduced in 2013. Self-Funding Patients pay for their treatment in NHS facilities or in private facilities delivering treatment on behalf of the NHS. The rate paid by Self-Funding Patients is comparable to NHS costs, which are typically much lower than those charged by private hospitals.

Procedures available on this basis include; imaging, ophthalmology, and some surgical procedures such as hernia repair and arthroscopy. These are some of the increasing number of procedures that are now subject to restrictions by  Clinical Commissioning Groups  and/or for which there are long waiting lists.

As waiting lists get longer and more services are restricted the options that can and will be provided to Self-Funding Patients will be expanded.

John Appleby of the King's Fund has said of self-funding that it is: paying privately to get some health care provided by the NHS. It is a private scheme.

Self-funding Patients represent the not-so-thin end of the wedge into a fully-formed two-tier health service where people who can pay get preferential treatment, or access to treatment, not available to those who can't pay. It blurs the boundary between public and private.

Nick Hopkinson, a London consultant chest physician, voiced the concerns of many when he said that he feared this would lead to queue jumping and an inferior service for those who couldn't pay.

It's also not hard to see how insurance companies will gradually step up to offer cover for those who would like to be self-funding when the need arises, further increasing the shift away from the principle of equity on which the NHS is founded.

Traditionally GPs have been there to decide if you need to go to hospital. However, an article in the British Medical Journal reports that a company called Better is offering access to urgent triage with a consultant as soon as a patient has an issue that concerns them at a cost of £300 a year. This undermines the purpose of GP Primary Care, and it means the NHS will pay for non-evidence-based interventions that start in the private sector.