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Private Medical Insurance Information


Increasing numbers of Private Medical Insurers now recognise The Whiteley Clinic and the quality of our work.

The Whiteley Clinic has contracts or agreements with the following private medical insurers:

  • BUPA
  • WPA

If you are insured with any of these companies, we are happy to work with them and contact them on your behalf, if you wish us to do so.

However, with any other insurance company, we will invoice you directly and limit our discussions and communications to you and your GP or other doctors involved in your medical case. If you wish to make a claim on your insurance, you will need to do so independently once you have paid us directly for your treatment.

Please note, if you are going to use Private Medical Insurance, we need to have a GP referral letter as part of our agreement with the Private Medical Insurers. Failure to do so might invalidate your claim and might leave you liable for any fees. So please ensure we have been sent a GP referral if you intend to use Private Medical Insurance

Restrictions on your insurance

Medical insurance companies are increasingly restricting cover for varicose veins and venous conditions. Please check any restrictions that may apply directly with your insurance company if you plan to use insurance.

For example:

  • GP letter: BUPA insist on a GP letter having been received by our clinic before we can see you
  • One treatment per leg per lifetime: WPA has had a restriction on their policies for some time that you are only allowed to have one operation per lifetime per leg for varicose veins. On 1 January 2022, BUPA also introduced this policy. In addition, BUPA have also stated that you can only have one session of foam sclerotherapy if needed, and this must be within six months of the surgery.
  • Recognition of individual doctors: insurance companies also restrict certain doctors from seeing patients and so please do check that the doctor you are seeing is recognised by your insurance company.

We have made our reputation introducing cutting edge technologies and treatments to the UK, researching and auditing them to ensure our patients get the best and most effective treatments.

It is with great pride that we offer our patients the very best that is available in the UK.

Our results speak for themselves – our success in doing so can be seen by our:

  • achievements
  • research papers
  • prizes
  • press coverage of our veins treatments
  • press coverage of our LSA results
  • patient satisfaction

Most of our treatments are covered by those medical insurers who understand our research and audit and want their clients to benefit from the excellent care that we provide. Cover should pay for consultations, tests and treatment of your veins (as well as the associated problems such as leg ulcers, phlebitis, venous eczema etc).

Of course, private medical insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures and so thread vein treatments are not covered by medical insurance.

NICE Guidelines For Varicose Veins

A specialist vascular service is a team of healthcare professionals who have training and experience in diagnosing and treating varicose veins. The Whiteley Clinic therefore are fully compliant with being a “specialist vascular service” as far as varicose veins are concerned.

If you have varicose veins that are bleeding your healthcare professional should refer you to a vascular service immediately.

Your healthcare professional should also refer you to a vascular service if you have any of the following:

  • Varicose veins that are causing pain, aching, discomfort, swelling, heaviness or itching (whether or not you have had varicose veins before)
  • Changes in the colour of the skin on your leg that may be caused by problems with the blood flow in the leg
  • Skin conditions affecting your leg, such as eczema, that may be caused by problems with the blood flow in the leg
  • Varicose veins that are hard and painful and that may be caused by problems with the blood flow in the leg
  • A healed or unhealed ulcer (a break in the skin that has not healed within 2 weeks) below the knee.

See details here: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg168

If you fall into any of these diagnostic categories and wish to be referred to our specialist vascular service at The Whiteley Clinic, then anyone preventing such a referral with that they be healthcare professional, medical insurance company or any other person or agency is breaking NICE guidelines and should be to explain this fully. If such an instance should arise, please also contact The Whiteley Clinic with full details so that we can investigate this further.

What to do if your private medical insurance says “No”

There are several reasons that your private medical insurer might say no to your claim for veins.

If it is because your private medical insurance doesn’t cover you for veins, or there are other exclusions that are contractual, then you will need to check your insurance contract and see what you agreed to in your initial agreement when you took out the insurance.

On the other hand, if your claim is acceptable, but you are directed elsewhere or are told that you can have treatment but not at The Whiteley Clinic, then you should not accept this without question.

In the UK, it is the Patient’s Choice that is paramount. Your right as the patient to choose who treats you is more important than any commercial agreement or choice of doctor or facility that your private medical insurance company might have made for you. Thus if you want to see an expert at The Whiteley Clinic and your insurance company tries to direct you elsewhere, you should check with the Insurance Ombudsman if they are allowed to do this when you have made your choice.

One of the major problems with private medical insurance companies telling you where to have your treatment is the liability if something goes wrong. The Whiteley Clinic provides very specialised investigations and treatments based on our own experience, protocols, audit and research. If it is your choice to have us treat you, then your wishes should be agreed to.

However if your insurer (or anyone else for that matter) directs you elsewhere, then they are taking some responsibility towards your medical care by influencing your decisions. Provided you are happy with any subsequent treatment, then there would be no problem. However, if anything goes wrong with your subsequent treatment, then some of the responsibility and liability for any resulting problems will need to be shared by whoever influenced your decision.

Useful link: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

We have been told by patients insured with some private medical insurance companies that having been refused funding for treatment at The Whiteley Clinic, they have contacted the Insurance Ombudsman.

In the cases we have been informed about, the Insurance Ombudsman contacted the private medical insurance companies that had refused funding and a subsequent offer for some funding for treatment at The Whiteley Clinic was then made to the patients.

We have not been involved with these discussions directly as it is a matter soley between the patient, their private medical insurance company and the Insurance Ombudsman.

However it does appear that patient choice is being given a higher priority than the choice of insurance companies as to where they wish to send people insured with them.

Recently there has been some debate between the insurers and Consultants where insurers are looking increasingly to recognise a reduced range of consultants. In principle we do not have an issue with this as long as the criteria for inclusion on the reduced list are made on the basis of quality as well as cost.

The Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations (FIPO) is a medical organisation representing the majority of the medical professional’s organisations in Britain that have private practice committees.

FIPO seeks to work constructively with all independent hospital providers and the private medical insurance industry and has this to say on the subject:

“You should note that just occasionally some insurance companies might make comments about the consultant to whom you have been referred, sometimes implying that they are expensive or that they are not on one or other of their “Partnership” lists.

You should not be deterred from your choice by any such comments and you should expect an explanation of whether or not your treatment will be paid.”

For the full transcript, please read here.

With continuous dialogue, we are hopeful that in the future, we will be able to work with all medical insurers to enable all of our patients to have the chance of treatment at The Whiteley Clinic.

We keep our charges very competitive compared with anyone offering the same standard of treatment.

At The Whiteley Clinic, our prices include:

  • Surgeons fees
  • Anaesthetic fees
  • Hospital fees

If you are not aware of this, then comparing our all inclusive fee with fees quoted by surgeon (who quote surgical fees only) or hospital (who often quote hospital fees and not professional fees for the surgeon and the anaesthetic) then we can appear expensive.

In addition, we do not charge any extra for recurrent varicose veins over primary varicose veins – we just charge for the procedures that are done.

We are always happy to explain our treatments and treatment plans and go through our charges and results.

Our primary aim remains to continue to deliver excellent service backed up by research and development so ensure our patients have the very best diagnosis and treatment for the best price we are able to offer.


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