Are all Private scan clinics the same? In short no, they aren't...
Some scan clinics offer a variety of scans that include diagnostic scans and bonding scans. There are also some clinics that offer only diagnostic scans and do not get involved with 3D/4D scanning (mostly hospitals, although there are some trusts that are now providing 3D and 4D scans as of this year, 2018). There are also those who produce only non-diagnostic scans for bonding enhancement or souvenir scans.
3D and 4D baby scans are very popular amongst expectant parents, but they don't generally have any medical or diagnostic benefit. You could argue that they do have a beneficial outcome for bonding purposes which would be an emotional benefit however, this could in turn enable mothers to take better care of themselves in the knowledge that their baby is in fact a tiny human and not just a wiggly bump. Early Life Ultrasound Centre in Cheltenham, believe that there is a real benefit and studies have shown that there is a link to mothers taking better care of themselves after undergoing a bonding scan.
In general, if you are choosing to have a private 4D/3D scan then you won't be having any diagnostic screening as a part of the scan unless the clinic specifies this. As a part of most of the 3D 4D Scan appointments with Early Life Ultrasound Centre, growth measurements are offered to check that your baby is growing normally, together with other important well-being checks.
By the time you would typically have a 3D/4D scan, you would usually have already had your anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. To check for anomalies, specific measurements have to be taken and specific organs will need to be visualised. 3D and 4D scans won't be looking for anomalies as the Sonographers will be concentrating on getting images of the baby's face. However, there are things that Sonographers may see during a 3D/4D scan. These would include too much or too little fluid around the baby or a low lying placenta which can be seen without taking measurements and these would be explained to you. But it should be understood that, if your Sonographer is not medically trained, then these issues may not be picked up.
Most ultrasound clinics have Sonographers that have undergone medical training in ultrasound at university and in hospitals, and have and obtained recognised qualifications. There are also are some boutique type ultrasound providers where the staff performing the scans have only had minimal training on how to use the ultrasound machine and can complete 3D/4D scans.
Scanning without medical training is not against the law, but if you are not happy about a person who is not medically trained performing your scan then you must do your research, but of course the choice is yours. The Care Quality Commision reports are the best place to find information on how your chosen clinic is managed and staffed. Most reputable clinics will display their CQC report on their websites. This is the best indicator of a reputable clinic. Early Life Ultrasound Centre's Sonographers have recognised qualifications in Medical ultrasound along with additional training for the 3D and 4D ultrasound.