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Navigating the Decision of Private MRI: Understanding Costs and Advantages

Navigating the Decision of Private MRI: Understanding Costs and Advantages
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MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans can be lifesavers! But you already know this. The radiation-free imaging technique uses magnetic fields to provide detailed images of the inside of your body to help doctors diagnose conditions.

However, waiting for weeks to get the result can be torturous when you take an MRI scan. 

Your mind will journey to different places in thoughts. What will the scan detect? Will it explain the cause of my sudden symptoms? These and many more thoughts can make you restless.

What if we told you there is a more efficient way to do your MRI scan—a swift path to answers that reduces anxiety? That’s a private MRI.

A private MRI scan is an MRI examination you do in a private healthcare facility or MRI clinic outside the NHS.

However, given that a private MRI is relatively expensive, one might wonder whether it is worth it. Why go to a private healthcare facility for an MRI when you can get the same MRI done for less at a public healthcare service like the NHS?

This article will answer this question! We will examine the reasons why a private MRI is worth a try. 

Why should I choose a private MRI scan?

There are many reasons to choose a private MRI scan. These include:

Quicker diagnosis 

Why choose a Private MRI scan

The most significant advantage of private MRI scans is quicker access to the procedure. 

When you’re experiencing unexplained symptoms or pain, and your doctor suggests an MRI, you’ll want to do the test ASAP. You won’t want to wait weeks or months for the facility to have a slot for your MRI scan.

Unfortunately, that is the situation in the NHS. Waiting times for non-emergency MRI scans can take several weeks or even months, and some can wait up to two and a half years for an MRI scan

The NHS constitution says that wait times for diagnostic tests should be less than six weeks. However, more than 25% of NHS patients currently wait more than six weeks, with the longest wait time for an MRI scan being two and a half years.

Needless to say, one's health could worsen during the several weeks or months of waiting for an NHS MRI scan.

Thankfully, when you book an MRI scan with a private provider, you can have your test done within days (or even hours). 

Flexible scheduling

Unveiling the Flexibility of MRI Scheduling

Another big advantage of private MRI scans is flexible scheduling—you can choose a date and time for your MRI scan that suits your schedule.

For instance, you have a career-lifting presentation to make on a specific day. But your hospital fixes your MRI scan for that same day and can’t say when another slot will be available.

In England, the waiting list for diagnostic tests has increased from just over 1 million in 2019 to over 1.6 million in 2023. Therefore, getting another slot may take many months if you miss your appointment. 

So, when doing an MRI scan with an NHS hospital, you just have to rearrange your schedule and make yourself available on the day you’re given.

While your health should come first, rearranging your schedule to fit medical appointments can be frustrating. 

This is where you’ll wish you could rearrange your medical appointment to fit your schedule. Thankfully, private MRI scan bookings allow this.

Private MRI facilities offer flexible scheduling. You can choose when it’s best for you—evening appointments, weekend appointments, etc. 

You can also choose the radiology centre closest to you. The goal is to break down obstacles and facilitate a seamless transition from diagnosis to decision.

Thus, if you have a busy schedule or prefer appointments during specific times, using private providers for your MRI scans makes more sense than using NHS hospitals.

Personalised service

Providing personalised service

Private MRI scan providers beat public healthcare systems when it comes to giving patients personalised and enjoyable experiences.

In the public healthcare system, it can feel like you’re just a number. Healthcare professionals almost always have more on their plate than they can handle, so the experience can feel rushed.

MRI Private scans solve this problem, as private healthcare providers prioritise comfort.

It starts with the environment. Instead of the crowded NHS hospital corridors, you’ll enter a calm, controlled environment when you go for a private MRI scan.

In the public health system, healthcare professionals may only be concerned with completing the scan and moving you on as quickly as possible. However, private providers are always concerned about giving you a positive experience.

They generally offer more personalised service, giving you all the time and attention you need.

Some of the steps private MRI facilities take to ease anxiety during tests include:

  • Using open MRI scanners: Some private facilities invest in open MRI scanners to make taking the test more comfortable for people who may feel claustrophobic in a traditional MRI scanner.
  • Providing headphones or earplugs: The tapping sound of the MRI machine can be unsettling. So, private facilities always provide headphones to mitigate the noise and ease anxiety.
  • Playing soft music: Many private providers provide headphones, but they also offer the option of listening to music during the scan. This can distract from the unsettling noise and help ease anxiety.
  • Offering patient support: The staff of private facilities provides support and reassurance throughout the procedure so you won’t feel alone. 

Advanced technology

Private MRI scan facilities compete for clients by investing in cutting-edge equipment and offering the best service.

As a result, private clinics/facilities usually have newer and more advanced MRI machines capable of providing clearer and more detailed images of internal structures like blood vessels and organs.

In biomedical imaging, more detailed images provide more information about internal structures, helping with more accurate diagnoses. 

Because of this dedication to advanced imaging technology, private MRI scans are unique and valuable in healthcare.

Rapid results

After the scan, the clock is ticking. In the public sector, the wait for outcomes can seem endless. However, in the private sphere, things happen faster.

One of the biggest benefits of a private MRI scan is the quick turnaround time for results. After your scan, results are usually available a few business days later. 

This promptness allows you to start any essential treatments more quickly. For example, the post-MRI treatment you need could begin at a private medical centre in a few days.

This guarantees that any required interventions begin without delay and includes a comprehensive strategy to get your health back on track.

Assured quality

It's normal to have concerns about the quality of care provided by private healthcare providers. But there are fascinating details regarding private clinics that may alleviate your worries. 

Not only are consulting radiologists among the staff members of private MRI facilities knowledgeable about MRI technology, but they have also received extensive training in patient care. This combined skill ensures that your experience is reassuringly comfortable and technically sound.

These institutions offer excellent service throughout your MRI experience because they uphold strict quality requirements. These settings offer an advantage: professionals who can start treatment within days after your scan are available. 

One notable benefit is the quick shift from diagnosis to immediate treatment planning, providing a smooth care continuum. You can accelerate and better organise your recovery process by selecting a private MRI facility, which guarantees excellent imaging and diagnosis and timely and effective follow-up treatment.

Comfortable experience

It's common to experience some anxiety before undergoing an MRI scan. The machine may appear intimidating.

The sounds can also be a little unnerving. However, private clinics are aware of this.

Private imaging facilities are prepared to manage patients' usual anxiety related to MRI tests. There are open MRI scanners for people afraid of or feeling claustrophobic around closed MRI machines.

Employees are also taught to offer comfort and assurance during the process.

Hassle-free booking

It may seem difficult to locate and schedule a private MRI scan. However, it's quite the contrary.

Finding and scheduling a private MRI scan is much easier than you think.

A lot of private facilities feature easy-to-use websites, efficient booking procedures, and polite customer support. The goal is to break down obstacles and facilitate a seamless transition from diagnostic to decision.

What is the cost of a private MRI scan in the UK?

The cost of a private MRI scan depends on several factors, such as the body part to be scanned, how many scans are required, and the facility where you do the scan.

Cost of Private MRI scan near me

That said, the national average cost of a private MRI scan in the UK is around £375 for a single body part. But when going for a full-body (whole-body) MRI scan, know it’ll cost you over £1,000.

A full-body scan is recommended, especially for people with the rare genetic disorder Li-Fraumeni syndrome or other conditions that predispose people to cancer.

Does private health insurance cover private MRI scans?

If you hold private health insurance, there may be good news for you! Many insurance plans cover MRI scans. Some cover the full cost of the scan, while others cover just parts of it.

So, check with your health insurance provider to see if they cover private MRI scans.

Do I need a referral for a private MRI scan?

In the UK, regardless of whether an MRI scan is conducted through private or public services, a GP referral is often necessary. However, in the context of private services such as ours, we streamline the process by facilitating a GP referral through a chat session with one of our GPs.

How long does a private MRI scan take?

How long it takes to do an MRI scan depends on the size of the area you want to examine and the number of images that will be taken. 

That said, an MRI scan can take 30 minutes to an hour, but whole-body MRIs to scan your entire body can take up to an hour and a half.

Know that an MRI is not the quickest imaging technology out there, but it’ll be over before you know it, especially with the supportive staff of private MRI facilities.

How do I book a private MRI scan?

An often understated advantage of personalised MRI services is the hassle-free booking process.

Booking a private MRI scan is easy peasy, especially with a service like GetScanned. You simply enter your location and the MRI scan type you want, and GetScanned will give you a list of the best centres closest to you for your test. 

Then, you only need to choose the centre you want by clicking the appropriate button to book your test.

Private MRI scans vs NHS, which is better?

Using the NHS for diagnostic scans comes with the advantage of lower costs.

Thus, the “private facilities versus the NHS” argument implies stacking the many benefits of private medical scans against the low-cost advantage of using the NHS.

Private scans offer flexible scheduling as well as personalised and comfortable service. However, their biggest advantage is quick access to the MRI imaging procedure and test results, which both lead to rapid diagnosis.

With rapid diagnosis, there would be no long (and often agonising) wait to know what the MRI test results may or may not detect. It also means you can start treatment earlier (if the test result does detect something).

So, even if we discount advantages such as flexible scheduling and comfortable service, private scans offer quicker diagnosis, which gives peace of mind and an opportunity to start treatment.

If you ask us, while private MRI scans are not cheap, peace of mind and an opportunity to start treatment early are immeasurable benefits worth paying a little more for comprehensive medical imaging services.

As many people who use MRI as a cancer screening tool know, detecting cancer early and starting treatment immediately can be the difference between life and death.

Conclusion: Private MRI scans are worth every penny 

Although a private MRI scan is not inexpensive, it is worth every penny.

It offers numerous benefits, but the most crucial is a quicker diagnosis, which can help you detect issues on time and start treatment early. 

When early detection of a condition leads to an immediate treatment plan that restores your health, you’ll be glad you paid those extra pounds for the diagnostic imaging scan.

Ready to start your journey to better health? Book your private MRI scan with GetScanned today!