Private Medical Insurance

Is private medical insurance beneficial to keep paying an expensive premium for, having had thrombocythaemia for 20 years, treated by the NHS. How is everybody’s experience verses NHS treatment in senior years? Has private treatment been needed with changes in health?

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Hi @Kimo and a great big welcome I am so glad that you have found us and posted with a very good question.
I have not got private medical insurance so I cannot comment, the only thing that I have heard, so I do not know if it is true, is perhaps consider the problems you might encounter switching between the 2 mid treatment. However it might vary between different consultants, different NHS areas and different private insurances.
I am 73yrs old and I have to say the NHS have been brilliant to me and my family when really needed.
I will copy your post to the Blood Cancer UK nurse advisors for their experiences @BloodCancerUK_Nurses
I look forward to hearing more about you and look after yourself

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Dear @Kimo
Thank you for your question. May I ask whether you have spoken to your Haematology Consultant about your Private Healthcare? Is there aspects of your care that you feel could be improved upon regarding your thrombocythemia? This piece from our colleagues at Cancer Research is quite useful when considering the benefits of Private Healthcare regarding your treatment:
Comparing NHS with private cancer treatment | Cancer information | Cancer Research UK. I would suggest that other aspects of healthcare as you get older can be escalated quicker through a private opinion like orthopaedics for instance, but as ever this is a personal choice.
If you would like to talk this through further, please do call: Blood cancer information and support by phone and email | Blood Cancer UK
Kind regards


Dear Gemma,

Thank you for your reply.

My haematology consultant has suggested that private healthcare is not necessary, as I can be & presently am treated on the NHS.

My concern is, if I give up private medical insurance, it will be very difficult to re-insure and what would be the chances of further effects from thrombocythaemia in the future, that could benefit from private insurance.

Has anyone else benefited from private medical insurance with thrombocythaemia?

Many thanks



Dear Erica,

Thank you for you help and reply Erica. Best wishes to yourself and good health.

Kind regards


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I feel I received excellent treatment and monitoring for my lymphoma (as well as kidney disease) on the NHS . I do not think private insurance is good for long term chronic diseases but at the moment I choose to keep up my private medical insurance (which I used to get through my employer) in case I need a one-off short term treatment like a knee operation or similar. It does cost a lot as I get older but I know if I give up my private insurance now they will never cover me with my pre-existing health conditions if I try to go back to it in the future.
Sadly this Govt just isn’t investing enough in the NHS and its workforce for me to trust that it will always be there when I need it. I hate health inequality and feel access to good non-profit healthcare should be available to all (I lived in the US for 6 years and saw how terrible the divide is there between those with insurance and those without, it is shocking but also how private insurers try to limit their payouts as profits is their aim).


I have used my private health insurance for CML as i could not get the medication needed on the nhs as it was expensive. Without the drug i would have died but the nhs decided my life wasn’t worth the cost. I am not sure if they would have stepped in at some point as i got worse but I am glad i had the insurance to give me a better chance of living. BUPA have paid for my medication for the last 20 years without question but i had expected them to stop when NICE finally approved it.
When i went through breast cancer treatment the benefit was that drugs to counteract side effects were provided that the nhs would not have paid for but the nhs provides a team which i would have preferred rather than relying on one oncologist who i didn’t like.

So there are pros and cons really and the private premiums are going up all the time.


Thanks for your experiences with private health insurance @Chrispy yes, there certainly are pros and cons.
Look after yourself

Hi Kimo,

The company I work for has provided me with Bupa cover for years. I never really used it and never thought I would tbh. How wrong I was!

I was diagnosed with Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) six weeks ago at 44. I have always valued the NHS and always will (they got me through a difficult labour and have kept my parents alive for years who have multiple health issues).

However - I was given a verbal diagnosis of Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), I’ve since had no written confirmation of this. My GP remains unaware and questioned why I felt getting my vaccines up to date was necessary. I felt completely cut adrift and sought help and direction from this forum. I then called Bupa. I was face to face with a top Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) consultant the next day in Leeds. He is seeing me again in 3 weeks time. We had a very thorough conversation and discussed the way forward. I was also offered genetic testing which I’ve declined for now. I need to get used to having cancer before I delve into genetic markers and information that might scare me to death!!

So having Bupa has been a good fallback for me personally.

I would also say regardless of whether you have private medical insurance or go down the NHS path I’m learning that self-advocating is essential. Speaking up at the GP and not being fobbed off in anyway.

Marie xx


Thank you for sharing your experiences Chrispy. It is great to hear people’s take on this NHS v private medical subject.

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Brilliant advice, thank you Marie. Best wishes & good health with your diagnosis.


Sure thing! Private medical insurance can be really helpful, especially as we age and health needs change. While the NHS provides great care, private insurance can offer faster access to specialists and treatments. It’s worth considering, especially if you’ve had thrombocythemia for a while.

Hi @Brewslee a great big welcome to our forum.
Thanks for your thoughts and presumably experiences.
I think what I would say is there is the financial side.
I know some people have private insurance through work or some other route.
But a lot of the population cannot afford going privately and especially if it is not just the cost of a consultation there is also the cost of tests on top of that.
I look forward to hearing more about you and look after yourself