It depends on which country in the U.K you live in, but there are a few routes you can choose between within the U.K.
Publicly Funded Health Services
Each country in the U.K has a public health system. In mainland Britain, there is NHS England, NHS Wales and NHS Scotland. Northern Ireland has its equivalent, which is called Health and Social Care Services. These services are accessible for U.K nationals who have a national insurance number.
The public health system is divided into individual health boards (also known as trusts). Each health board covers a specific area of the country. Your local health board will be based in the area that you live and is responsible for funding your care via the public health system. Due to the rarity of Superficial Siderosis, you may need to travel to find a physician who is knowledgeable in the condition. When you need to travel to a different health board, your local health board will transfer funds into the health board in which you are going to receive treatment. Funding needs to be approved and signed off, and the local health board will pay for the appointment or treatment via the public health system. This system enables patients to travel to any area in the U.K where there is a physician available who may specialise in a particular condition, such as Superficial Siderosis.
Private Health Care
Private health care is also available in the U.K for those who have either private medical insurance or can pay the cost of consultations and treatments. Non-U.K Residents are also able to access the private health care sector within the U.K, providing they have insurance or a means to fund the treatment.
For U.K residents, in most cases to access private health care, you will need to get a referral from your G.P, but some private firms offer a self-referral service where patients can refer themselves.
Another route to access private health care is an NHS hospital physician can refer a patient to a private physician to speed up treatment, as there can be long waits on the NHS. Some private physicians also like to carry out an initial consultation, then move a patient to their care on the NHS system, saving a patient money and giving them access to other facilities which may not be available in the private sector.
Whichever route you go down there are lots of options available and public and private care can also be intertwined. The Superficial Siderosis physician directory is a handy tool to help patients find a physician that is knowledgeable in the condition.
About Rhys Holmes
Rhys Holmes is a former musician, data analyst, shop assistant and childhood footballer. In his spare time, he enjoys researching Superficial Siderosis, writing, and watching his favourite football team Liverpool FC. He lives in Wales and receives care under NHS Wales.
Follow Rhys on Twitter @RhysHolmes