Patients who go private will be able to access a new one-stop service designed to help them get the best care.
The Private Patients’ Forum has been set up to cater for the 11 per cent of Britons who have private medical insurance as well as those who pay for one-off treatments privately.
Information ranges from how to choose private health insurance to selecting a consultant or hospital. Patient rights are set out together with information on how to complain if things go wrong.
The PPF, which is not-for-profit, is designed to encourage and support best practice.
Patients will also be able to use the website to pass on their comments and views about services.
PPF chairman Gary Flather said that, until now, private patients have had nowhere to go for best practice information and advice.
“PPF will be listening to patients’ experiences and from these we will develop plans to improve their experience of all aspects of private healthcare,” he said.
“From our initial research, patients need clearer information to help them choose the appropriate insurance policy and the most appropriate doctor and hospital too.
“For that to happen, patients need help and more information in order to exercise their right of choice.
“We will be listening to private patients’ experiences from which we aim to be able to pass on helpful advice to others.”
PPF executive director Don Grocott said: “Once we become better known we can begin to expand our services and help more people.
“We are already recognised as representing the interests of private patients exclusively and so our views have been sought by the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) as part of their market study of private healthcare.
“We cannot take up individual complaints but we can tell people where to go to get help or redress - and certainly we can help people avoid potential problems in the first place.”
The PPF is funded by donations from private companies and individuals, who have no influence on PPF policy or voting rights on any management committee.
An advisory council includes patients and experts.