Frequently asked questions

If your general practitioner or another specialist has made a referral to me then generally my office will contact you.  To keep things moving along while waiting for letters to arrive you can contact my office using the details on this website.

Generally between 1 and 28 days.  It will vary by location and if I am away at all.

Unfortunatly not.  Under the terms imposed on the hospitals by the Care Quality Commission I cannot see anyone under the age of 18 in clinics.  You will need to go to a children / adolescent specialist.

Yes – I am recognised by most of the major UK private health insurers.  You will need to contact your insurer and let them know you are coming to see me.  

(They all know me as Dr Collins from the Ridgeway Hospital for administrative purposes, oblivious of where you are eventually seen).

They will normally give you a ‘pre-authorisation’ number for the consultation.  Please bring this and your policy number with you on the day as the hospital will need it as well as my office.

I am not registered with Tricare or Aetna however, so if you are covered by either of these you will have to pay directly and claim back later I’m afraid.

It is very useful to have a list of your current medications.  If you have copies of letters from consultations with other specialists, or results of scans or investigations done elsewhere then do bring them along too.

If you have private health insurance then you’ll need to bring your details together with any pre-authorisation reference numbers you have been given.  The hospital will need these, as will I for my secretary.

In general a first visit takes about half an hour and further follow up visits between 15 and 30 minutes.  You should also be prepared to allow time to have any blood tests and x-rays if needed. (Sometimes it is possible to be seen, have an x-ray and be seen again with the result in the same session).

Of course – bear in mind you will have to talk in some detail about your medical health in front of them though.

Usually on the first visit at least there will be some form of physical examination; how extensive obviously depends on what the problem is.  Generally most of the consultation is taken up with taking a history of your condition – it is there that the diagnosis is usually to be found.  A chaperone will be available, and if unaccompanied will always be present if any significant undressing is required.

If any blood tests are needed they can generally be done on the day.  If the appointment is outside normal laboratory hours it may be necessary for you to come back.  The same applies to simple x-rays but scans (MRI, ultrasound, DEXA etc.) will need a second visit.

I will write to the clinician that referred you outlining the result of the consultation, with a copy letter for you to keep and a copy to your general practitioner if they did not make the original referral.  My office will arrange any follow up visit if needed.

Yes – depending on the problem, I can issue a private prescription.  Please note I cannot issue an NHS prescription as a result of a private consultation and the pharmacist will make a charge even if you hold an NHS exemption.  You can ask your general practitioner if they will prescribe what I have recommended but bear in mind they are not obliged to do so.  Most are happy to issue follow up prescriptions however.

If anything is needed it can generally be done as part of the consultation.  It is a good idea to rest the joint afterwards so if you have a busy schedule it might be better to arrange a separate visit.  Unless you have had injections before and know you are OK afterwards it is a good idea to bring someone else to drive you home.

Most insurers are happy for these to be done on the day but some do require a further check with them and authorisation.  If you think you might need an injection its best to ask them before your visit.