Dr David Collins  MD FRCP

  Consultant Rheumatologist


Tel / Fax: 01285 885146


Frequently asked Questions.


How do I make an appointment to see you?


If your general practitioner has written to me then generally my office will contact you. To keep things moving while waiting for referral letters to arrive you can contact my office using the details above.


How soon can I be seen?


Generally between 1 and 14 days (see my clinic times).


Are you registered with private health insurers?


Yes – I am recognised by all the major UK private health providers.  You will need to contact your insurer to tell them you are coming to see me (they all know me as Dr Collins from the Ridgeway Hospital oblivious of where you are seen).

Your insurer will usually give you a pre-authorisation number which you should bring with you on the day.


What else should I bring with me?


It is very useful to have a list of your current medications.  If you have copies of letters from consultations with other consultants 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.


How much time will it take?


In general a first visit takes about half an hour and further follow up visits between 15-30 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).


Can I bring a friend or relative with me?


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


Will I have to be examined?


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.


What happens after the appointment?


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


I will write to the doctor who referred you to me outlining the result of the consultation, with a copy letter to you for your records and also to your general practitioner if he or she did not initiate the referral.  My office will arrange a follow up appointment if needed.


Will you be able to prescribe medication for me?


Yes - depending on the problem, of course I can issue a private prescription.  Please note I cannot issue NHS prescriptions as a result of a private consultation and the pharmacist will make a charge.  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 if needed however.


What happens if I need injections into joints or tissues?


If anything is needed it can generally be done during the consultation.  It is a good idea to rest the joint afterwards so if you have a busy schedule this can be arranged for 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 a new authorisation.  If you think you might need an injection its best to ask them before your visit.