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Private Health Screening

(17 Posts)
annielewis Mon 16-Jun-14 08:51:59


Has anyone had one of those general Health MOT type screenings done? Are they a total waste of time/scam? What do they actually test for? I've got a bunch of low level ailments and am getting paranoid that I've got something nastier lurking as can't shake this feeling of generally feeling under the weather. Am tired all the time, can't seem to get motivated, dodgy tum/bowels quite often, headaches often etc etc.

Feel like if I turn up at the GP I don't really know what I am asking for, and just wondered if they are any good. I am in London if anyone has any recommendations on clinics etc.


PacificDogwood Mon 16-Jun-14 08:57:39

Private health screenings use an untargeted scatter-gun approach that IMO give a false sense of reassurance when they don't find anything and create lots of anxiety when they (inevitably) do find some incidental variation of normal (which then has to be followed up 'urgently' by the NHS usually).
In 20 years of General Practice I have not seen a single significant result come out of them - I am not a fan, can you tell grin??

Go see your GP, tell them what you feel wrong with you, get examined if appropriate and then tests will be done that actually look into what you are complaining of.

No doubt hordes of posters whose life was saved by private health screenings will be along shortly wink

Artistic Mon 16-Jun-14 11:40:33

Last year DH had general fatigue & weight loss & we were in a similar place. GP had prescribed high dose Vit D but it only helped a bit. The first problem with private was deciding what specialist to see! Finally we picked one, he ran all the tests & they all came clear - but they did indicate lower than average (though not lower than normal) WBC & platelets. It just alerted us on few things like this. Finally the consultant concluded that DH had undergone a drastic diet change & weight loss due to being diagnosed with hypertension. This has effectively worn him out & depleted his muscles. He needed rest & food & low stress. Just knowing that there is nothing serious going on under the bonnet helped him focus on eating/resting well - and he's much better now. Not sure if this may/may not result in anything major but it could at least put your mind at ease.

TheFuzz Mon 16-Jun-14 13:31:42

GP is the best place. Write down how you are feeling, symptoms before you go in as you may forget them.

Slipshodsibyl Mon 16-Jun-14 13:39:06

The useful parts will be done by your gp if necessary. I had one recently and expected a personalised approach but is was just a tick box list. The unusual things I hoped they would address or direct me towards someone to help were ignored (to do with menopause, allergies , general issues of ageing etc). And a marker of a condition I have was remarked upon as normal when I know it was above what is considered normal. I was quite surprised and will not go again.

Messygirl Mon 16-Jun-14 13:45:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ab987 Tue 17-Jun-14 16:11:52

GPs tend generally to be a bit rubbish a low-level ailments and symptoms unless they are able to think outside the box. They do tend to reach for a tick-box form for blood tests so it depends how perceptive your GP is- some are good.

They will test you for all the usual things- thyroid, anemia, viruses, - but they probably won't test you for IBS or coeliac and your symptoms do sound possibly along the lines of IBS/ food intolerance. Do not under any circs see anyone unqualified for this- you need an NHS dietician/ NHS nutritionist to help you.

Private health screening will not offer you any more than your GP - in terms of what is helpful- they would do bloods and as a woman, smears and mammograms- but the people who would do all the tests you need would be consultants- so you need to focus on which type of consultant could help you. Dodgy bowels and tiredness would be a gastro dr, or an immunologist interested in food intolerance.

There is an excellent bowel clinic in Harley St if you wanted to have a look at that.

London Digestive health

CPtart Tue 17-Jun-14 16:45:55

The over 40 health check is simply cardiovascular health screening-trying to pick up those who might be at greater risk of stroke or heart attack over next ten years. Only basic routine bloods are done (cholesterol, liver and kidney function, glucose) and checks include BP, weight, smoking and alcohol advise. I am a practice nurse and feel that for most people they are largely a tick box exercise. If you have specific problems, you would be better making a list and seeing the GP for a more individualised approach.

ab987 Tue 17-Jun-14 16:54:59

and your GP can do all of those tests CPTart- no one needs to pay for them privately, though the NHS would either want you to have symptoms or a family history to run some of them.

CPtart Tue 17-Jun-14 17:22:13

If you are aged between 40-74 and are not seen regularly for any other chronic condition then you are entitled to one free on the NHS. As I said, it is really cardiovascular screening though, not some all encompassing MOT!!

ab987 Tue 17-Jun-14 17:25:17

CP- the OP was asking about private healthcare tests not NHS.

CPtart Tue 17-Jun-14 17:37:46

Ah yes, ignore me !

ab987 Tue 17-Jun-14 17:43:41

Eh? Blimey- talk about touchy!
The Op asked about private screening and I was confused by your post because I initially thought you were in a private practice from what you had said- then I re-read it.

annielewis Tue 17-Jun-14 20:10:56

Thanks for your replies everyone - sorry to hear of some bad experiences. I guess I just feel awkward going to my GP for general malaise, would probably help to write everything down though.

I have privat4e insurance so could get test s done privately if they don't fall under NHS guidelines on a referral couldn't I?

I am due a smear too but am so scared to go and get it done since two horrible births have left me totally petrified of any 'test' of any kind, also, I am unlucky enough to apparently have a very high/tilted cervix so I never get away without being recalled for a repeat screen due to insufficient cells. Is there anywhere that will smear under GA??? grin

PacificDogwood Tue 17-Jun-14 20:50:14

I think you'd struggle to find anybody ethical to do a smear under GA grin.

I think there is a problem with nomenclature here: 'screening' by definition implies tests on healthy and well individuals to pick up potential future problems.
Going along with a list of complaints (whether to your NHS/private GP or a private specialist covered by your health insurance) is likely to lead to further tests which will address your concerns.

As an aside, there is no test for IBS - it's a diagnosis of exclusion.

IMO seeing somebody privately can lead to faster investigation and care, not better IMKWIM <disclaimer: I am not in England>

Do get seen if you have concerns about your health.

CPtart Tue 17-Jun-14 21:43:07

Not touchy. Seriously, my error on re-reading initial post so ignore me.

ab987 Wed 18-Jun-14 08:16:23

Sorry CP- problem with posts is that you can't hear the 'tone'.

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