IN ANSWER to Mr Lewis of Barton Close, Birdham, (Observer, October 20, Letters) I was delighted to note that you had seen the advertisement for our new private GP service.
I suspect that your questions have been asked by many, so would like to alleviate your concerns.
As you quite rightly point out, this service will be of great comfort to sick people who sometimes have to wait two or three weeks to see their own local doctor, but also those who commute all week and do not have time to see their GP, and indeed, those who are not registered with an NHS general practitioner.
I would like to reassure you that as a private hospital, we are bound by data protection legislation and also patient confidentiality regulations and therefore we will not have access to a patient’s private medical records. However we will of course ensure all our patients’ NHS GPs are kept informed of any referral for treatment where deemed necessary and appropriate as this will maintain an up-to-date and accurate health record.
The private GP will charge a fee for their consultation but should the patient be referred for further treatment or to a consultant specialist, the referral process will be no different from seeing your local GP as the patient will still have a choice to either stay in the private sector or be referred to the NHS. Should the patient choose to return to the NHS for any treatment, they would need to return to their NHS GP for a referral made at their GP’s discretion.
I am sure you will appreciate that not all GPs are employed by the NHS on a full-time basis and therefore any GP who works in a private capacity does so in their own time. The new service has been developed to provide additional support to both patients and local GPs, but also to enhance the choice of a comprehensive range of services available from within the NHS and private healthcare facilities in Chichester.
Hospital director, Nuffield Health Chichester Hospital