Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a referral letter from my GP/Specialist to see you?

Apart from exceptional circumstances (eg emergencies/patients from abroad with no UK GP) you should be formally referred by your GP or another Specialist and you cannot self refer to see me.

There are a number of reasons for this – for example your GP needs to provide me with relevant background information, indicate the degree of urgency, agree that a neurological opinion is warranted and be prepared to follow up any recommendations I make.

Do you undertake Medico-Legal/Personal Injury work?

YES – But I can only provide a Medico-Legal opinion (eg personal injury, criminal injury, for tribunals) when formally instructed by a third party – usually a Solicitor – with the fees and Terms And Conditions agreed in advance, with them. My Private Secretary Angie Elder will need to ensure all the relevant paperwork is in place before an appointment can be made.

How do I make an appointment to see you (Private/NHS)?

For NHS patients your GP or referring Specialist should send a referral letter to the appropriate NHS booking team. For NHS patients it is not possible to guarantee that I will see you personally as I work in a team with other neurology colleagues and referrals are allocated in turn, depending on urgency.

For private patients the GP or Specialist referral letter (which must be addressed to me to guarantee I see you) can be sent (posted/faxed) to one of the Private Hospitals I consult at:   The Montefiore Hospital, Hove; The Nuffield Health Hospital, Brighton; Spire Gatwick Park, Horley or Sussex Medical Chambers, Hove (see clinics and contact information for addresses). Or if your appointment is urgent, you can bring the referral letter with you on the day and can make an appointment by calling one of the aforementioned Hospitals/Clinics directly.

When making a private appointment – you need to state whether it is a new appointment (I have not seen you before) or a follow up appointment (I have seen you in the last 2 years).

If you are insured you need to get an authorisation number/code from your Insurance Company and bring this together with your membership details (Policy number/Membership number) to the consultation. You also need to clarify with your Insurance Company as to whether further authorisation is required for any blood tests/ scans/neurophysiology tests or whether I can organise any such tests at the time of the initial consultation.

I am approved as an Expert Consultant Neurologist by all the major insurers (including BUPA, Aviva, PruHealth, AXA PPP, Norwich Union etc). If you are unable to provide the relevant Private Medical Insurance Authorisation/Membership number within 48 hours of the consultation then you may be invoiced for the consultation and have to claim this back from your Insurance Company.

I am not insured but want to see you privately, what are your charges?

My fees as a Consultant Neurologist are competitive and fully inclusive. My standard private fees for Patient Consultations (not Medico-Legal Instructions) are £260 for a new patient and £190 for a follow up consultation. This has to cover my cost of secretarial fees, administration costs, room hire, indemnity insurance and then tax.

For the majority of patients seen, one to two consultations are all that are required. For patients with chronic or ongoing neurological disorders I would try and facilitate ongoing NHS care where appropriate.

What conditions do you treat?

As I am a General NHS Neurologist, I routinely see patients with a wide spectrum of neurological symptoms and disorders. For more information look at my Conditions Treated pages.

I have an appointment to see you for the first time, what can I expect?

A thirty minute consultation which includes: Full medical history, focused neurological examination and after that a discussion of the likely diagnosis, the need for tests and possible treatments. My style is to discuss symptoms open and candidly, fully involve the patient, tailoring individual treatment and to try and provide a comprehensive management plan, explaining why. As there is often quite a lot discussed, I make it a routine practice to copy my patients in on the clinic letters sent to the GP.

Can I do anything to help before seeing you?

You are welcome to bring a written/printed list of your symptoms but be aware that if you provide me with large amounts of information, there may not be the time to go through it comprehensively. Where possible you should try and summarise your main symptoms/concerns to help focus the consultation.

If you are interested in participating in any particular research you are welcome to bring the details of this with you.

If your condition affects other family members then obtaining details about their medical history may be helpful.

If your problem is a blackout or fit, it is extremely helpful to bring a witness with you (if available) or failing that a written account of the event from the witness.

If your problem is a memory disorder please bring someone who knows you well to provide a corroborative history of your symptoms.

If you are unable to bring all of your medication with you please bring a written list of your medications with their doses and a rough indication of how long you have been taking each of the medications.

If you have seen another professional for the same problem and have been provided with clinic letters or scan results via your GP, please bring these with you.

Please be aware that when you see me privately I cannot access any of your NHS notes. If you are a NHS patient your notes are not shared between different NHS Trusts, which is why it is so important that your GP referral letter is as detailed as possible, providing the relevant background medical history in advance of me seeing you.

I am currently under the care of another Neurologist, can I still see you?

It is advisable to stay with one Doctor who knows you well and is able to provide and co-ordinate your care locally. However after discussion with your GP, if you have any ongoing concerns and you would like a second opinion, it may be appropriate in selected circumstances for me to see you or for your GP to refer you to someone who has a particular specialist expertise in your condition/symptoms.

I have been diagnosed with a chronic neurological condition – will I continue to remain under your care and see you regularly?

That depends on the condition. For most conditions (eg migraine) patients can be managed by their GP with support and advice provided by myself (shared care). If your problems continue then I would be more than happy to re-assess your Management Plan and treatments. I am fortunate to work as part of a team with support from Nurse and GP Specialists in Parkinson’s disease, Dystonia, MS, Headache, Epilepsy, Motor Neuron Disease, Dementia and Head Injury. As a result of this team approach it is hoped that we can offer a more comprehensive yet holistic and locally responsive service.

I will have difficulty getting to see you in outpatients, is there any way you can help me?

You could discuss with your GP and the Outpatient Booking Team (depending on the hospital) the possibility of hospital transport being arranged for you. I can see patients who are wheelchair bound but not those who are bed bound, in my Outpatient Rooms. If you are a NHS patient on low income/receiving State Benefits, in some circumstances it is possible to claim back the cost of public transport and you can speak to your GP or the Outpatient Clinic Nurse about this.

I do not carry out NHS home visits but depending on your condition, some of our Nurse Specialists (see above) may be able to see and assess you in a more convenient/comfortable location. I work closely with Care of the Elderly Consultants and Neurorehabilitative Specialists who could assess you in a day hospital or rehabilitative setting.

I have been referred for surgery where will that be done?

With the exception of certain types of spinal surgery, nearly all of the other neurosurgical procedures are carried out at the regional Neuroscience Centre currently at Hurstwood Park in Haywards Heath and shortly due to move to state of the art facilities at the Royal Sussex County Hospital site.

I need highly specialised neurological treatment, can this be offered in Sussex?

At Brighton and Sussex NHS Trust, we have Specialist Clinics for Dementia, Movement Disorders, MS, Motor Nerve Disorders/ALS, Epilepsy and Headache allowing specialist expertise to be provided for the benefit of all local patients.

At Hurstwood Park we also have access to a comprehensive range of neurological investigations including DAT scan, Myelograms, Cerebral and Spinal Angiograms, Sleep Studies, Video EEG Telemetry, Neuropsychometry to name but a few as well as treatment provided by highly specialised and experienced Neurological Therapists.

However, given the limits of our current catchment area there remains a few highly specialised neurological procedures/therapies that are not currently provided locally. These include certain types of Neurosurgery for Epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, certain Headache Treatments and Gamma Knife Radiosurgery.

I have maintained strong links with King’s College Hospital, London and the National Hospital for Neurology, London. It is possible through these collaborations for me to give my patients access to the very best neurological treatments available in the UK. I am also involved in a number of drug trials both regionally and nationally, allowing patients access to the latest therapeutic advances.

I have been recently diagnosed with a Neurological Condition, can I still drive?

The DVLA are your first point of call as they keep the most updated information – go to the DVLA web site.

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