Becoming a surgeon isn’t something to enter into lightly. It can take around 15 years of training, so it makes sense that you’d want to make the most of your career once you’re fully qualified.
The obvious route would be to work in the NHS – there are plenty of positions available with staff shortages expected to grow over the coming decade. There’s no doubt that working for the NHS is a noble pursuit, but how different is working in the private sector?
Control over practice
The process moves at a much faster pace in the private sector. Surgeons can see a patient, assess their condition, recommend a treatment and carry it out within the space of just a few weeks in most instances.
With fewer targets to hit, doctors enjoy greater autonomy and control over the treatment and rehabilitation of their patients. However, the same regulations and guidelines must be followed as rushing could result in medical negligence in the form of an incorrect diagnosis or inappropriate treatment.
Financial rewards and increased earnings potential
Many surgeons do private work in addition to consultancy for the NHS, so you don’t necessarily have to simply pick one or the other.
You can effectively top up your annual NHS salary with work in the private sector. This could effectively double the amount you take home each year.
It is not particularly common for surgeons to work exclusively in the private sector.
Enhanced patient experience and personalised care
There’s no denying that the patient experience is far superior in the private sector. People often get private rooms instead of having to share with several strangers, and less pressure on ward nurses means that a more personable approach to care can be given.
The shorter waiting times ease the stresses on surgeons, who can feel a need to get through as many procedures as possible, while they can also take more time to come to an initial diagnosis.
Access to advanced technologies and facilities
There is far more bureaucracy involved with approving new treatment methods in the NHS due to it being a public service.
However, the private sector isn’t held up by the same red tape. Private hospitals can invest in all the latest technology and provide their patients with refined treatments that have a reduced recovery time.
For example, it may be easier for a patient to have the procedure they require carried out with robotic assistance from instruments like the Mako robotic arm or the da Vinci Surgical System.
This kind of equipment helps increase the accuracy of work by surgeons and enables patients to make a speedier recovery due to the reduced tissue damage compared to traditional methods.