Having heard nothing from anyone in nearly 3 weeks, I started chasing yesterday. After finally speaking to someone with half a brain at the neuro dept, they told me that despite my GP saying that he would refer as urgent, it was actually marked as routine. The affect of which is 16 week wait before appointment.

I have a health policy which will pay for a private referral, which I may set in motion today…assuming the consultant says, you need MRI’s on this that and the other, I will then need to be referred back through the NHS for them to be carried out as the policy I have will not cover it. The up side is that I will be able to pick whom I will see and have a number for his secretary so I can hear waiting times etc from the horses mouth… And hopefully he will set the wheels in motion to be referred back to his clinic…or maybe not…he might be to busy.

Has anyone any bad experience in trying to mix private and NHS? My concern is that I will have the consultant take a look, then be left in no mans land regarding the next stage.

One thing for sure…I do not want to have to wait 4 months before speaking to someone!


When it all started for me, I had an urgent neurologist referral. But even that was eight weeks. I enquired about getting a private neuro appointment but that would have taken about five weeks and there could have been complications if I needed to switch back to NHS for MRI scans etc. (I know this has worked ok for some people).

So I agreed with my GP that he would emphasise that my appointment was needed urgently. He also agreed to order the MRI scans that the neuro was likely to ask for. That way the neuro would have the MRI evidence in front of him/her at our first appointment.

The MRI appointment came through in a couple of weeks. The scans showed multiple legions and because of that I was given an emergency neuro appointment within a week. The news was not so good - but knowing was! - and I knew in about three weeks which was faster than the private route would have been.

This process with the GP might be worth considering.

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My process started off with a lower spine MRI at A&E on 27 Feb to confirm I didn’t have Cauda Equina. I didn’t - but I did have “two t-2 hyper intensities suggestive of demyelination” as a probable cause of my numb toes. I had an immediate referral to a private neuro (took 2 days) who sent me for a full MRI with contrast that week. I got the results the next week (lots of lesions throughout the CNS - including contrasting ones) and was referred on to a specialist MS Neuro (who I’ve later discovered is named on the ABI guidelines on treating MS and involved in the HSCT/ monoclonal research so I think I’ve landed in a good place). I saw him the following week and he agreed to take me onto his NHS books for treatment. My GP made the referral the next day - but it has taken about 3 months to get an NHS appointment (which is in a couple of weeks). However, I’ve been lucky as until I get a formal MS diagnosis (I’m held as CIS at the moment) I’ve had the luxury of a private follow up with the MS neuro to start discussing treatment options and have another MRI (full CNS with contrast) next week to see how I’m progressing. The NHS referral process has also triggered the process with the MS nurses (I have a first appointment Friday). Finally, I’ve just received a letter for an NHS double (1 hour) appointment in July with someone new in the NHS hospitals neuro team. I’m hoping this may be to start discussing Lemtrada (my neuro is supportive of this for me if the MRI shows I’m active and said he would start the ball rolling) – but really don’t have the foggiest what this is for (and intend to ask at the upcoming appointments). So in short, if you have the ability to do it using private medical appointments to gather info whilst NHS referrals are taking place can I think be very helpful in pushing things along a little bit (but doesn’t negate the NHS wait times altogether). Hope that is vaguely helpful? Realise it’s just my particular (and on going) experience. K x

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I paid for a private consultant and MRI then went back to NHS for the rest of my treatment so far no problems at all.


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Managed to get a private appointment with a neuro who specialises in MS in 3 weeks. Also my health cover does include MRI that can be carried out within 2 weeks, but not sure if the cost ceiling as yet, so that’s a bonus. My GP secretary has said that there should be no problem being referred back through NHS should it be required for treatment etc… If need be. Can hope not though. The next few weeks are going to be a struggle, so many plans that now need to be put on hold.

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Same here.


I was in the same boat. Couldn’t wait for NHS so got a private session with a nuero. Had to wait 3 weeks to be seen first then I had met him, had an mri with high contrast dye and met him 5 days later. Now back to NHS for treatment etc and my private neuro is the guy I will see on the NHS and the ball is rolling for everything else. Still new to this but beats waiting the 10 weeks for just the mri on NHS.

Have got my appointment 3 weeks from today. The initial symptoms are now somewhat tempered so I feel I can function now. What I am left with currently is a left leg that hurts sporadically and tingly sensitive areas on my left arm. Tingly fingers are subsiding. Interestingly, these feelings I can relate to an ailment 2 years ago. I went to gp at the time and was suspecting shingles. I was given some tablets based on my self diagnosis at the time, which did nothing, and the symptoms disappeared over a couple of weeks. I am now guessing that that was the first ‘attack’ and am wishing something was noticed then. Easy to blame, but the symptoms were very mild… This time they weren’t.

Way back in 1999, I saw my GP for mobility problems. She immediately said I should see a neuro.

The NHS waiting list was 10 months!!! I know!

So I paid £175 and saw the same neuro 2 weeks later.

I got an mri on nhs. But I paid £25 to get the results privately.

There was a little confusion when I turned up to the nhs clinic, but was all ironed out.

I dont blame anyone for going private.


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