Private vs public
We’ve looked at some of the benefits and pitfalls of the public and private health systems in the UK when it comes to pregnancy, to help you make that all important decision.
You’ll have the choice between having your baby through the private or the public health system, but, what’s the difference? Really, it comes down to the level of personalised care and the treatment you’d like throughout your pregnancy and birth, and how much you want to spend. It’s worth noting that both the public and private services in the UK are world-class, so whichever you choose, you should be in safe hands.
The UK has a public health system called the National Health Service (NHS), which provides free treatment for UK nationals and those who are ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK. Those who are from countries with healthcare agreements with the UK are also able to benefit from free NHS care. Private care is available, and most private maternity services are in London and South East of England.
When you find out you’re expecting, the first point of call is to visit a General Practitioner (GP). You can register with a GP at your local doctor’s surgery. In some cases, this visit may be free of charge - make sure you check what you’re entitled to carefully. The GP will confirm your pregnancy and refer you on to see a community midwife. They’ll also take care of any scans and tests that you need. Midwives are available through the NHS or privately and can be found through the clinics, or through your own research.
The facilities in the public hospitals are to a high standard. When you go into labour and your baby is ready to be delivered, you’ll be taken straight to the delivery room in the hospital. When your baby arrives, you’ll then be moved to a post-natal ward where midwives will tend to a number of new mums and babies, until you’re ready to go home. The facilities in private hospitals are generally more comfortable, with more luxury and privacy. You’ll have your own private room and a dedicated midwife and obstetrician (OB) to give you one on one care and support.
If you opt for a private hospital, you’ll most likely be asked to pay a deposit to reserve your booking with them. Your hospital should be able to advise you about this cost.