Harrogate Anaesthesia Services (HAS) works as a chambers of consultant anaesthetists. Each anaesthetist remains an independent practioner who determines their own fees. The fee is based on a number of variables including the complexity of the case and the predicted time involved, including post-operative care.
Is it possible to get an estimate of my anaesthetic fee?
Although all consultant anaesthetists within HAS will set their own fees, most will use the fee schedule of Western Provident Association (WPA) as a guide. WPA is one of the Private Medical Insurance (PMI) companies in the UK. Their website contains a very useful search facility which provides an indication of what they consider to be a reasonable benefit maximum. To obtain an estimate of your anaesthetic fee via the WPA search page, please click here
. By entering either the name of the procedure, or its recognised operation code (OPCS code – available from the hospital or your surgeon), you will obtain a figure for the anaesthetic fee. As most consultants within HAS set their fees around this level, it provides a useful guide.
Why is this an estimate and not an exact figure?
This is an estimate rather than an exact figure for a number of reasons. Each Consultant Anaesthetist determines their own fees dependent on a number of factors. Further, this is an estimate for the planned surgical procedure. There are occasions where the planned procedure changes, where multiple procedures become necessary, or the anaesthetic requirements may alter, for instance the use of complex anaesthetic nerve blocks. Dependant on the surgical course, there may also be the need for a higher level of post-operative care, for instance in a high dependency or intensive care unit. Fortunately unanticipated changes to the fee structure are uncommon and your anaesthetist will always be happy to discuss their fee structure with you as part of your preoperative consultation.
Will my health insurance cover the anaesthetic fee?
Each PMI has their own fee structure, which sets the benefits levels for their customers. This sets a benefit “maximum” for each procedure. Please note however, this may vary considerably between each PMI and is also dependent upon the type of policy held by the customer. In contrast to this, the fee set by the consultant anaesthetist remains the same regardless of the patient’s choice of PMI or the type of policy held. In consequence, the benefit “maximum” set by the PMI may be less than the fee set by the consultant anaesthetist, leading to a shortfall. If this is the case, you will be liable for this shortfall.
Can I find if there is likely to be a shortfall?
In contrast to WPA, many PMI’s do not provide ready access to their fee structures. For this reason you are encouraged to obtain a fee estimate, either using the WPA website or by contacting HAS, and then checking with your PMI the benefit level provided by your policy. This will give you an indication if there is likely to be a shortfall. However, if you are still uncertain if your PMI will meet the entire anaesthetic fee, please discuss this at the end of your pre-operative anaesthetic assessment.
What if I require a regional anaesthetic technique (nerve block)?
For certain surgical procedures, your anaesthetist may perform an additional procedure, a nerve block, to aid in your post-operative care. This is more common in certain types of surgery, particularly shoulder surgery where they are performed at the behest of your surgeon. As this is an additional procedure, it may incur an additional fee. However, not all PMI’s will cover this fee, and it is important that you check with your PMI if this is the case.
Is the fee for pre-operative assessment included?
If a patient is to undergo complex surgical procedures or has significant pre-existing medical conditions, they may require an outpatient pre-operative assessment with a consultant anaesthetist. If this occurs, there may be an additional fee for this consultation.
Are special procedures covered?
Certain surgical procedures may not be covered by PMIs, and if you are planning to undergo either hip arthroscopy or breast augmentation, please contact your PMI and/or HAS to ascertain if this is the case, and to obtain a fee estimate if the PMI does not cover your procedure.
Do we comply with the voluntary billing code of practice?
Harrogate Anaesthetic Services complies with the voluntary code of practice for billing patients published by the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland.