How will coronavirus affect my care?

Will I be able to come to my face to face appointment?


Spencer Private Hospitals at Margate and Ashford, and The BMI Chaucer, Canterbury, in line with all private hospitals in the UK, have restricting routine appointments, although this is beginning to change. We are risk assessing all appointments and tests, and if appropriate, you will be offered a “remote” consultation in the first instance.




What happens at my remote consultation?


Your appointment will be booked for a mutual time, and take place over the telephone, or via video call. The consultation will proceed as normal, including a full discussion of your health needs, review of any results, and recommendation for future management. Whilst you won’t be examined directly, we can make use of visual assessment (video or photo sharing). If we agree that an urgent assessment is necessary, this can be arranged. These arrangements follow guidance set out by the General Medical Council.




What video equipment to do I need?


If you have a mobile phone, tablet or laptop with a camera, we can connect to you. Facetime, skype, google meet and Zoom all work well. We can also send you a link which does not require you to download any apps or software. In cases of technical difficulty, we can always use the telephone.




How many people can be at my appointment?


Whilst the appointment is just for you, you may wish to include other family members. We can arrange a group call or video for this.




How long is my consultation?


This depends on several factors, but a great benefit of private care is that you shouldn’t feel rushed. We will take the time you need to understand what is troubling you. A new consultation is typically around 45 minutes, and a follow up visit is usually 30 minutes. You can ask further questions, typically over email, as needed.




What happens if I need medication?


A private prescription can be sent to you or your pharmacy, or your GP might agree to give you an NHS prescription.




What happens if I need any tests?


East Kent Cardiology are leaders in home based monitoring, and can arrange for ECG testing and other devices to be sent to you at home, if required. We can even arrange for some blood tests to be done at home. Whilst it is important to avoid unnecessary travel, other tests do need to be done in hospital. These are still taking place, but with additional precautions around hygiene and social distancing. You will be risk assessed, and if showing signs of possible coronavirus infection, your appointment would be rearranged.




What happens if I need a procedure or operation?


Treatments which cannot wait can go ahead as normal, but with additional precautions around hygiene and social distancing. You will be risk assessed, and if showing signs of possible coronavirus infection, your appointment would be rearranged.




How much does a consultation cost?


If you are self funding, a typical new consultation will not exceed £245 and a follow up will be no more than £185. There may be additional costs for investigations or treatment but these costs will always be confirmed before booking.




Will my private health insurer cover me for a remote consultation?


Insurers have indicated that during the coronavirus restrictions they will honour invoices for remote appointments. You are always advised to seek preauthorisation before proceeding with a booking.




Can I still have NHS care if I have had a private appointment first?


If further specialist treatment is required, this can be arranged as NHS care, although your position on an NHS waiting list shouldn’t be affected by your private consultation. Some investigations or treatments may only be available privately.




Do I need a GP referral to receive private care?


You can get private treatment from a consultant or specialist without being referred by your GP but it is always helpful to have as much information from your doctor as possible. Your GP will need to agree to provide any ongoing prescriptions or aftercare. You should also check with any insurer if a referral is required.




I'm worried about your team. Are they keeping safe?


Thank you for your concern! Our clinical staff are following national guidance to keep safe at this time and adhering to all hospital policies, whether working in their NHS roles, or in private care. All our administrative staff work remotely, and this continues as normal.




How are you managing the recovery from coronavirus? Will things return to normal?


Transmission of coronavirus has reduced, and cases of COVID-19 are falling. Services across Kent are beginning to move to a new phase of recovery. We are all having to think differently about how we manage care in the future: social distancing and enhanced cleaning protocols mean that face to face consultations may still be limited. East Kent Cardiology have been leaders in delivering enhanced video consultation, utilising home monitoring, wearable technology and "mail order" diagnostics. In person appointments will continue to be part of our core offering.





 

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