Blog > What’s the difference between an out-patient, a day-patient and an in-patient?

24 April 2018

If you are wishing to make a claim on your CS Healthcare private medical insurance plan and undergo much-needed treatment, you will need to inform us of the type of treatment you require, including whether you will be regarded an out-patient, a day-patient or an in-patient. Read our guide on 'what is private health insurance' to further understand your policy.

Who is classed as an out-patient? 

An out-patient is someone who is referred to a specialist or consultant by their GP, or other healthcare practitioner, for further assessment, diagnosis, treatment or a second opinion.

Out-patient appointments usually take place within the out-patient department of your nearest hospital or in out-patient consulting rooms. When attending your out-patient appointment, you may be seen by a nurse or healthcare assistant before being seen by the appropriate Specialist/Consultant. The consultant or specialist will write a letter to your GP after the appointment with their findings and to outline the next course of action.

All out-patients are so-called because they only stay in hospital for the length of their appointment – usually half-an-hour to an hour.

Who is classed as a day-patient? 

The key difference between a day-patient and an out-patient is that their attendance at their hospital tends to last for a minimum of half a day.

As the name suggests, day-patients aren’t required to stay in hospital overnight, but they may face similar instructions as in-patients in terms of admissions, such as being nil-by-mouth prior to minor surgery. All of these instructions will be made clear within appointment letters and must be followed in order for the procedure to take place.

Who is classed as an in-patient? 

In clinical terms, an in-patient is defined as someone who is admitted to a hospital ward and receives medical care overnight. In-patients include both those arriving for pre-arranged, elective procedures and those admitted to hospital as a medical emergency.

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