Private healthcare offers many benefits but one of the most beneficial is that it allows you to schedule surgery around your holidays!
Choosing the date for your surgery (rather than getting one allocated to you) allows you to make plans for the year. This means you won’t have to cancel any holidays!
Take a look at the process of getting your surgery scheduled, and how to pick the best time for your operation and recovery.
Scheduling surgery – the process
Before scheduling a surgery, you’ll start with an appointment. This will be with a specialist or member of the surgical team. The consultation is a comprehensive session that can include a nurse’s assessment and, if necessary, an X-ray. During the consultation, the specialist will discuss treatment options. These will include whether additional tests are required and if surgery is needed.
If you do need surgery, you’ll be booked for a date and time to suit you.
The benefits of planned private surgery
Having planned private surgery comes with significant benefits. Private medical treatment is more convenient when it comes to scheduling your surgery. After your initial consultation, you’ll be able to book your surgery at a time and date that works for you, rather than having one given to you.
Private patients can also enjoy shorter surgery wait times. NHS waiting lists vary by hospital but are on the rise month-on-month. In fact, some patients around the UK are facing a waiting list of up to 18 months for their treatment.
Depending on the nature of your treatment, the period between the consultation and the actual day of surgery for private patients at Practice Plus Group is typically between four and six weeks.
Another benefit of deciding to have your treatment with Practice Plus Group is the ability to choose from 10 hospital locations around the UK. Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll also be able to choose the specialist to perform your surgery.
“I was stuck; what was my choice? I was an otherwise fit 70-year-old wanting to enjoy retirement…I decided to pay [for my treatment]. It was worth every penny.”Graeme Wakerley, hernia patient at Practice Plus Group
What is the best time to schedule surgery?
The optimal time to schedule surgery varies depending on several factors. These include:
- the type of surgery needed
- your general health
- your lifestyle.
Some of the key factors to consider when deciding when to have your surgery are:
- Healing time: ensure you have enough time for recovery without conflicting with major life events.
- Seasonal illnesses: try to avoid scheduling surgery during peak flu or cold seasons.
- Coordinate with holidays: scheduling surgery around your holiday time allows you to combine recovery time with time off work. For example, you may have some accumulated annual sick days that you can use at a specific time.
- Available support: if you’ll need the extra help of family or friends post-surgery, coordinate with them to find periods they’ll be free to ensure you’ll have the help you need available.
- Travel options: if a friend is taking you to and from the hospital, be sure to schedule a time they’re free. If using public transport, check timetables to ensure they align with the date and times you plan to go.
Planning surgery around your winter holidays
If planning your surgery around your winter holidays, there are a few factors to take into consideration.
Weather conditions during the winter period can often cause issues with transportation for both short and long-distance travel. It’s also around the peak time for cold and flu, which can put further stress on the healthcare system. With people often taking their holidays around this time of year, you may find that some medical facilities have reduced staff or modified schedules.
There are also advantages that come with scheduling your surgery during the winter holidays. In many industries, work slows down around the Christmas period. This means winter can be the best time to reduce stress during your recovery period. It can also allow you to take time off with less disruption. As many people are on holiday, it is also easier for your friends and family to find free time for extra support.
Planning surgery around your summer holiday
If planning surgery over the holidays, summer can be an appealing time. However, like winter, it has its benefits and drawbacks that you’ll need to assess.
While warmer weather may be enjoyable, intense heat in summer can lead to issues. These range from dehydration, discomfort, and swelling. It’s crucial to stay hydrated and keep the surgical sites cool and dry. This is to avoid issues around high temperatures and humidity. Summer is also a popular time for holidays abroad, so family and friends may be harder to get a hold of.
With that said, scheduling surgery in summer still has many advantages. If the heat doesn’t get too intense, the warm weather and longer days can help improve your wellbeing and promote a more positive recovery. Summer can also be a good time of year for knee surgery and other operations that require post-operative exercises or physiotherapy. You may find it easier to do these physical activities in the summer when you can enjoy the warmer outdoor conditions and long hours of sunlight.
Did you know?
20% of people on the NHS waiting list risk incurring extra costs by holidaying abroad without specialist insurance
Holidays and surgery planning FAQs
Still have questions about scheduling your surgery around your holidays? We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions below to help you make an informed decision.
Remember, if you’re unsure, consult with your doctor or surgeon to get advice based on your specific situation.
It depends on the type of surgery and your individual recovery progress. In many cases, doctors recommend avoiding travel immediately after surgery to allow for proper healing.
Going on holiday before surgery might impact your overall health and readiness for the procedure. While possible, you should give yourself time between your holiday and surgery date to ensure you can properly rest and recover. Opting for private treatment gives you the flexibility to choose to have your surgery at a time that suits you.
The best recuperation holiday depends on the nature of your surgery and your individual needs. A quiet and comfortable environment (with minimal physical exertion) is typically recommended. For example, beach resorts, spa retreats, or serene countryside getaways.
While it’s not mandatory to book a holiday for after your surgery, it’s important to plan for the post-operative recovery period. Having a comfortable and stress-free environment away from work during recovery can be hugely beneficial.
It normally takes people around 6-8 weeks following their hip surgery before they are able to walk without crutches or a walking stick. As such, it’s generally best to wait for at least 6 weeks after your surgery before going on holiday. If travelling by air, it is recommended you wait at least 12 weeks before taking a long-haul flight (longer than 6 hours).
It’s generally recommended to avoid flying immediately before or after surgery. This is because flying can increase the risk of surgical complications. Recommended waiting times vary, from 1 day for minor surgical procedures like cataract surgery, to 10 days or more for complex operations.. If you’ve undergone a hip or knee replacement, you may be at an increased risk of blood clots while flying and may be advised to wait longer.
Hospitals schedule surgeries based on various factors. These include:
- the urgency of the procedure
- the availability of operating rooms
- surgeons’ schedules
- the patient’s general health.
Priority is given to emergency cases. Elective surgeries are scheduled based on a combination of medical necessity and availability.
Waiting times for surgery in the UK vary widely depending on the location, type of surgery, and whether it’s carried out privately. Currently, the average NHS waiting times are about 14 weeks. At Practice Plus Group, the expected wait time for private patient care is around 3-4 weeks following the initial consultation.
Surgery during the holiday season allows you to take advantage of time off work for recovery. However, it’s essential to consider factors such as the availability of medical staff and post-operative care resources too.
Talk to our team to find out more about how you can get started scheduling your self pay surgery.