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BMI The Blackheath Hospital Good

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Inspection report

Date of Inspection: 30 October 2012
Date of Publication: 18 December 2012
Inspection Report published 18 December 2012 PDF

People who pay for a service should know how much they have to pay, when and how to pay it, and what they will get for the amount paid (outcome 3)

Meeting this standard

We checked that people who use this service

  • Know how much they are expected to pay, when and how.
  • Know what the service will provide for the fee paid.
  • Understand their obligations and responsibilities.

How this check was done

We looked at the personal care or treatment records of people who use the service, carried out a visit on 30 October 2012, observed how people were being cared for and talked with people who use the service. We talked with staff.

Our judgement

People paying for their treatment had clear information about fees.

Reasons for our judgement

The majority of people using services at BMI The Blackheath Hospital were privately funded, and either paid for services directly themselves or through their medical insurance. Approximately 30% of people using the service were NHS funded and had chosen to be treated at the hospital through the NHS 'Choose and Book' system.

Patients we spoke with that were privately funded confirmed that they had clear and timely information about all associated costs with their treatment. They told us that details of costs were provided to them in writing before they had their treatments.

We saw examples of quotations provided to patients before they accessed the service. The quotations clearly specified the procedure, the price, what was included in the treatment package, and details of any exclusions. Patients were provided with a copy of the quotation to keep for their own records, and if they found the quotation content acceptable, signed and returned a copy to the service. Clear information was provided about acceptable methods of payments as part of the quotation.

Managers told us about the arrangements in place to ensure patients had information about costs when they considered accessing the service. The hospital helpline had a 'fixed price calculator', which was able to give a quotation over the phone based on the medical condition specified by the prospective patient. The telephone quotation was then confirmed in writing.

BMI The Blackheath Hospital offered a range of fixed price self pay packages, details of which were displayed, available in leaflet form and on their website.

Once patients had started receiving treatment, they continued to be informed about any cost changes. One of the nurses told us, "We bring to the patient's attention what is and what is not covered by their insurance. We double check each time a new procedure occurs as to whether it is covered by the patient's insurance. We discuss price at every given stage."