NHS or private rehab?

Castle Craig is nestled into 200 acres of beautiful countrysidePrivate rehab

Residential rehab is the preferred rehab treatment option for many professionals and their family members.  Admission can often be organised within 24 hours, on Mondays to Fridays.

If you are able to fund treatment privately or if you have private health insurance then you will be able to access private rehab treatment.

Good quality private rehab treatment provides the best option for detoxification and recovery from addiction.  Just because a treatment centre is private, does not guarantee that it provides a good quality programme.  Make sure you check the quality standards of a rehab clinic that you are considering.  Inspection reports, ISO accreditation and verified outcomes (success rates) provide a way of checking on the quality of a treatment programme.

Executive Rehab Guide is published by Castle Craig Hospital, which is the UK’s leading private addiction treatment clinic.  Castle Craig also operates a clinic in Ireland called Smarmore Castle.  Both these treatment centres provide an evidence-based, high-quality treatment programme.  If you are struggling to fund rehab treatment then Smarmore Castle provides a payment plan option which helps to make treatment very affordable.

Who can apply for rehab funding with the NHS?

In some cases, it is still possible for the NHS or social services to fund your stay in a private rehab clinic.  All UK residents should have the option of addiction treatment through the NHS at community based rehab or private residential rehab, which is free at the point of delivery.  In order to qualify for NHS funding at a residential rehab clinic, you may have to show that you have explored local community-based treatment options first. Your GP can refer you to your nearest alcohol and drug action team. Accessing residential rehab this way may take a number of weeks, depending on the willingness of your local addiction team to fund your treatment.

Pros and cons


+ Flexible treatment plan;

+ Speed of admission – sometimes within 24 hours;

+ All treatment on one site: cohesion of care and daily routine;

+ Confidentiality;

+ Patients will usually have the same therapist/staff caring for them throughout treatment;

+ Will take place in a safe environment away from temptations and worries so patients can focus on recovery;

+ The therapeutic community provides strong bonds with therapists and other patients that aid recovery;

+  Family visiting times and facilities to make phone calls/receive letters, visiting accommodation sometimes provided;

+ Often provide complementary therapies such as equine therapy, art therapy, gym and fitness;

+ Aftercare programme;

– More expensive than rehab on the NHS;

– Not always covered by health insurance.


+ Free of charge;

+ Confidentiality;

+ Accessible to everyone;

+ Located in the local community, close to home and family;

– Lengthy admissions process;

– Might not be referred to residential rehab;

– Patients may be asked to go to different clinics/centres for different treatments;

– Recovery may be affected by life distractions and access to drugs and alcohol;

– Access to the personal therapist is more limited;

– Patients may not have the same therapist/staff caring for them throughout treatment;

– It may be more challenging to build an outpatient support network.

NHS alternative: Cross border treatment

Organising admission to a private rehab clinic via the UK NHS or local addiction treatment services can take months and the outcome is far from certain. However, it is often possible to gain much faster access to funding through the EU cross border healthcare directives.

UK based patients wishing to take advantage of that option can find more information on the Smarmore Castle website (Smarmore Castle is based in the Republic of Ireland and is ideally suited for UK NHS patients).

Find out more

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Rehab Guide Entry was last reviewed and updated on: