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UK medical expertise

Medical and health technology advances at a rapid rate and keeping up with the latest developments takes time, energy and vast financial resources. UK private hospitals and the larger NHS hospitals that have dedicated private patient units provide state-of-the-art equipment and keep abreast of health technology progress. UK doctors and consultants who treat private patients are leaders in their chosen field, and are fully aware of new developments such as robotic surgery and stem cell transplantation, which they offer private patients from home and abroad.

Imaging Technology in UK Private Hospitals

The latest imaging technology is widely available in UK private hospitals, with MRI scanners, CT scanners, PET CT scanners and gamma cameras available to private patients in most parts of the country. Many private hospitals, particularly those in London, often have more up-to-date health technology than even the largest NHS hospital departments. For example, the London Bridge Hospital has just installed a Siemens Essenza Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanner, which cost close to half a million GPB, and which adds to the other three MRI scanners already available at the hospital.

Other UK health technology facilities worth noting include:

  • The GE Discovery 450 MRI scanner at the Queen’s Square Imaging Centre in London. The Queens Square Imaging Centre is the only private centre in London that has its own functional MRI equipment that can look at brain activity in order to diagnose illness.
  • The Heart Hospital Imaging Centre in London has the latest Siemens Avanto 1.5T system for MRI scanning of the heart and associated blood vessels.

Private Radiotherapy Technology in the UK

CyberKnife Technology for Cancer Care

The CyberKnife contains no knife or blade; this very expensive piece of health technology uses extremely highly targeted radiotherapy to focus its destructive effects very precisely on the centre of a tumour. The treatment can be done without anaesthetic as it is painless, and it has very little impact on normal healthy tissue.

There are now around 150 CyberKnife units around the world; the three that are in the UK are all in London. The first two were installed by The Harley Street Clinic and The London Clinic in 2009 (both prestigious UK private hospitals). The third, installed in the autumn of 2010 at Mount Vernon Hospital (East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust) is the first NHS CyberKnife. All three are available to private patients.

IGRT and IMRT

Image Guided Radiotherapy and Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy also use radiotherapy but they guide its application using information from scans, and then check that the radiation is highly focused only on the tumour tissue. The number of UK private hospitals able to offer health technology capable of IGRT and IMRT is growing; CancerPartnersUK are currently expanding specialised centres and funding the training and staff necessary to support them. This is allowing private patients to access this new form of radiotherapy treatment and extra capacity in the units is being made available to local NHS oncology departments.

Other Radiotherapy Developments

UK private hospitals also have access to Rapid Arc, which increases the speed and focus of radiotherapy treatment so that treatments sessions are much shorter, and GammaKnife technology, which is used to perform minimally invasive brain surgery. The Cromwell Hospital in London was the first to install a GammaKnife more than twenty years ago and its second generation unit was installed in a newly refurbished centre in 2007. Radiosurgery using gamma knife technology is now available in many of the larger private hospitals in London, including the Harley Street Clinic and the London Clinic.

Private Intensive Care Technology in the UK

Intensive care units ICUs in the NHS are very well equipped with the latest health technology and some of the largest private hospitals have their own ICUs.

  • The Harley Street Clinic in London has the largest private ICU unit in the UK, and is able to treat adults and children. Equipped with the latest health technology for kidney transplants, respiratory support and ventilation and cardiac care, the unit cares for high dependency and critically ill patients.
  • The London Bridge Hospital has a round-the-clock Critical Care Unit with a 12-bed, 3-floor specialist facility that provides multi-organ support for critically ill private patients.
  • The London Clinic’s Critical Care Unit has the capacity to provide urgent care for any patient within the clinic whose condition gives cause for concern. Its innovative critical care techniques are applied to all cardiac surgery patients, reducing risk and improving recovery times and outcomes.