Private Patients

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust provides services on three main sites: the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro; St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle; and the West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance. Visit ‘Our services’ for the full range of options. We offer outstanding, safe private treatment and a range of ways to pay for your care.

What are the benefits of choosing NHS hospitals for private treatment?


By having your treatment in a hospital within the NHS, you can rest assured that there is a full range of general and specialist medical services on site, 24 hours a day. There will always be a doctor who can see you in an emergency. You will have access to any additional care which you might need, including a complete range of diagnostic facilities.

Team Work

Consultants who treat privately in NHS hospitals are there because it is their work base and this is where they have built up a specialist team. There is always backup from a wide range of on-site expert care, including specialist nurses and therapists.

Our Charges

Our pricing policy is based on the principle that it should be simple, open and fair. Our prices are also highly competitive. We never forget that the main reason we are here is to provide all our patients with the best possible treatment and care. All prices are quoted inclusive of VAT.

Working in Harmony with the NHS

Income generated by services provided to private patients within our NHS hospitals will go back into the Trust’s finances to support improvements which benefit all patients. Also, it is our guiding principle that no one on the NHS lists will be adversely affected by private treatment but benefit from the extra income generated.

How can I access private treatment?

Private medical treatment often starts as a result of an NHS appointment with your GP, at which you identify your desire for private treatment. Your GP will refer you to an appropriate Consultant specialist who will see you for a private consultation. The Consultant will normally need a referral letter from your GP before the consultation. Once this letter is received the Consultant’s office will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient appointment.

If Treatment is Necessary

If the Consultant recommends treatment requiring admission to hospital, he/she will check with the facilities at your local NHS hospital for bed availability. They will then agree a mutually convenient date with you for admission. S/he will also be pleased to discuss timescales at this time. If, however, you need admitting straight away this will be arranged either with Accident & Emergency or from an outpatient clinic.

Pre Admission Arrangements

If you are going to hospital for a planned admission the Paying Patients Office will contact you to confirm the arrangements. In some cases you may be called for pre-operative tests which can be a week or so prior to admission. You will be sent information on what to bring with you, along with the services that are available to you as a private patient.

During Your Hospital Stay

Once you have been admitted you will be under the care of your Consultant. They will undertake your operation personally, supervise your post operative care and set a discharge date, in conjunction with nursing and therapy staff.

Day Surgery

Many procedures can now be undertaken as a day case. You will still be under the personal care of your Consultant who will undertake the procedure.

How can I pay for private treatment?

Insured Patients

Please be aware that you are responsible for checking your level of cover and are liable for any costs not covered by the insurers. You should, therefore, obtain pre-authorisation from your insurance company who will advise you of any limits/restrictions in cover and give you an authorisation number which should be given to the Paying Patients Officer.

In these instances, the hospital will usually invoice & deal with the insurers directly. With emergency admissions the Paying Patients team will be happy to liaise with insurers on your behalf. You are also liable to settle your account for personal items such as newspapers, personal telephone calls etc.

Self-funding Patients

Many patients without insurance are electing to fund their own private treatment. A quote or estimate will be given in these instances. For some procedures it is possible to elect for a fixed cost package which enables you to know the total cost before the start of your treatment.

All self-funding patients will be requested to pay either the full cost of their treatment (where known) or a substantial deposit prior to admission. Payment may be made by credit or debit card, banker’s draft or building society cheque.

Cash can only be received during standard working hours when the General office is open. Personal cheques are also acceptable provided they are received at least 7 working days prior to admission to allow time to clear.

Fixed Cost Surgery

Fixed cost surgery is offered by the hospital in some areas allowing people who do not have insurance, or where the policy does not cover them for this particular procedure, to benefit from private healthcare. Please note, fixed cost surgery is offered and available for set procedures only.

By using a fixed cost arrangement you can be aware of the full cost of treatment before it starts. In general, the fixed price means there will be no additional consultant or hospital charges for the inpatient or outpatient treatment of a known medical condition once the price has been agreed.

Once agreed, the fixed cost package will include: accommodation; nursing care; operating theatre fees; diagnostic tests; treatment and meals given during your stay in hospital; all drugs and dressings during your stay; surgical appliances/implants and consultant fees whilst an inpatient. Please note the fixed cost surgery does not include: anaesthetist’s fees; outpatient charges before or after the inpatient treatment; prescribed drugs after discharge (these will be on a private prescription); personal charges.

The price only applies if you have obtained a quote and undergone treatment within the timescale covered by the quote.

What restrictions are there to Fixed cost surgery?

Your consultant will need to establish that there are no underlying medical conditions likely to give rise to complications or additional treatment. Should an unforeseen secondary problem occur this will be treated as an NHS patient unless you opt to have this as an additional private procedure/treatment programme in which case, this will be charged for separately.

RCHT can only offer fixed price surgery on set procedures where the costs are known. There will be some treatment programmes/ procedures where we are unable to offer this option due to a large variance in the price of implants/prosthetics/equipment and/or where the extent of the problem may not be known until the Consultant has commenced the operation.

In these cases we will try to give you a maximum and minimum cost so you have an idea of what you could possibly be expected to pay.

When does the Fixed Price Agreement End?

The fixed cost surgery treatment ends on the earliest of the following dates: The discharge date set by your Consultant; or the day you leave hospital. If you wish to stay in hospital beyond the discharge date set by your Consultant, this may be possible if the bed is not required by another patient but it will be charged for at the appropriate daily rate.


No refunds will be given if you leave or are discharged from hospital earlier than expected or if you decide not to proceed with the treatment after admission to the hospital.

If you cancel the operation on the day prior to, or of, admission you will be liable for: any costs incurred in the set up of the procedure; a bed cancellation charge; the purchase of specific consumables that cannot be used elsewhere or returned to the supplier(s); any other costs incurred that are specifically attributed to your procedure; and an administration fee of £50.

Cancellations by you two or more days prior to admission are fully refundable subject to an administration charge of £50.

Cancellation of Procedure by RCHT

Although we try to avoid it where possible, rarely it may be necessary to postpone your operation, for example due to the Consultant being ill. If RCHT is forced to cancel your procedure you will be given the option of a full refund or accepting a revised date.

Compliance with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Order 2014

In October 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (the “CMA”) published the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014 (the “Order”), following its investigation into the private healthcare industry. The Order imposed requirements on hospitals offering privately funded care to disclose certain information in relation to referring clinicians (as defined by the Order. Full details about the investigation and the Order can be found on the CMA webpage.

The information provided by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust is set out below as required
by the Order.

General Statement

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust does not offer any inducements to referring clinicians to refer private patients for any service at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals – i.e. The Royal Cornwall Hospital, West Cornwall Hospital, and St Michaels Hospital.

Higher Value Services – Article 16.2(c)

  • The Trust will make charges for the hire of Consulting Rooms by Consultants wishing to see patients on a private practice, at a room hire rate set by the Trust.
  • Secretarial support is directly organised by the Consultant themselves;  through the use of the private secretaries, or a private arrangement outside the Trust.
  • Some consultants chose to engage the services of their NHS medical secretary to support their private practice. However, NHS medical secretaries are not permitted to deal with private patient duties during their regular NHS working hours, except in the case of an emergency. Any private work undertaken is reimbursed by their Consultant direct.

Low Value Services – Article 17.2

The following “low value” services are also provided to clinicians undertaking private practice at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

  • General Services to ensure clinical safety e.g. NHS Induction, medical induction package and ongoing training.
  • Operational services such as patient booking/admissions, some billing of consultant fees, and some general administration e.g. reception services.
  • Tea and coffee are not provided to Consultants.
  • Meals are not subsidised or free of charge.
  • Onsite car parking spaces are provided to Consultants and Staff of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust subject to compliance with the Trust’s Car Parking Policy. Consultants and Staff must pay for onsite car parking.
  • The Trust does not undertake general marketing or other promotional activities on behalf of or in relation to private practice at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.
  • The Trust does have general information for patients on its website about how to access and pay for private patient services, but this does not include a directory of services or details of consultants undertaking private practice.

Corporate Hospitality – Article (17.3)

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust does not provide any corporate hospitality events to referring clinicians.

Financial Interests – Article (19.1) and (19.2)

No referring clinician with private practice at the Royal Cornwall NHS Hospitals Trust has any financial interest in the Trust, or in the equipment used at the hospital.

All referring clinicians with private practice are employed on NHS Consultant Contracts with the Trust.

Payments to referring clinicians holding a part-time position in a private hospital – Article (19.3)

No payments are made by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust to referring clinicians holding a part-time position in a private hospital.

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