Sorry for being UK specific but anyone have any experience of private vs public/NHS healthcare for schizophrenia in the UK? Or other countries if a similar healthcare scenario. I’m talking in the same way people will occasionally use private in the UK to speed up a process or get a second/better opinion for physical ailment - as opposed to being able to afford private long term which we can’t.
My brother, a long term schizophrenic has had a few recent issues with new tics and a few backward steps and I’m curious as to whether there is anything to be gained from speaking to someone new in the private sector even if we can’t afford to do that long term. As a family we have had a little financial boost recently that we want to use to help my brother if we can. Unfortunately wouldn’t be able to use private long-term but really just seeing if anyone thinks there is anything to be gained from a few private consultations/sessions?
Posted separately about the tics and medication if anyone interested.
If you are seeking a second opinion as opposed to treatment or enrollment in some sort of new medication trial or study (largely managed by the Health Care Trust and other research boards.) then private might be worth it. As far as treatment decisions and networking for his other social supports the NHS still has the best network. Most private practices deal with the “lower level” types of psychiatric treatment, i.e depression, familial counseling, and that sort of thing especially if you have specific religious preferences.
If you can stand the wait to see a GP on the NHS or his prescribing psychologist, it would be better than doctor shopping. As the new consulting clinician will only see your brother for one or two appointments, they can make a recommendation but can’t help with any of his other issues long term. So far as I can tell (from consulting a friend in the U.K) the private Healthcare system in your neck of the woods is best for one and done type issue like dental care of a faster follow-up for maintenance appointments in lower level care situations if you can afford it. While getting an appointment and getting registered with a GP or Dentist takes forever (and in more rural areas can be nigh impossible) if your in the system and maintain your appointments, your basically golden.
Thanks for response. Really helpful to get someone else’s view on this.
I guess by second opinion I mean someone assessing whether the medication he is on is the best for him rather than a one size fits all approach which you can get with NHS psychiatrists who are dealing with hundreds of patients in the area. Does feel sometimes, certainly as he gets older, that it is just a case of as long as he doesn’t resist taking the meds he can largely be forgotten about. And when new developments happen such as a trio of tics he has now developed the answer is simply up the dosage of clozapine.
My understanding is that if a private doctor suggested an alternative medication plan we could then take this to the NHS doctor and use that plan with them but I could well be wrong on that.
Ultimately it is largely a question of if you suddenly came into some money could that be used to help your family member who has has schizophrenia for over half of his life or whether sadly nothing can really be done to improve things on a medical front.
If you can be more specific about what isn’t working for his medicines, describing the worsening of his symptoms. Like you mentioned, the private network might be able to give a second opinion on treatment and they will talk to the NHS clinicians if you go back to them, they cannot and do not have the resources to manage his case (a problem in the U.S for public health services as well) they might, key word, might try a new care regimen. Of course it can be dangerous and as unhelpful as the previous medication regimen that isn’t working. It’s also to be expected that meds take time to work.
(Something with anosognosia that isn’t possible for the patients themselves.)