NHS Patients

www.chooseandbook.nhs.uk

I am afraid to say that if you live in the area serviced by Ashford St.Peter’s NHS Trust (so that is Chertsey, Woking, Weybridge etc) it is no longer possible for your GP to refer you directly to me as an NHS patient. Your referral will instead go through to a ‘triage’ system where it will be vetted and you will be referred on as appropriate – usually to a physio. My understanding is that, once you have been through the triage system and reached the point where it has been deemed that you should see a Consultant, that your GP or you can then exercise your right to choose your specialist and I have been assured by the Trust that if your GP puts my name on the initial referral then you will, eventually, get to see me.

If you are lucky enough to live in an area that hasn’t introduced this rationing system, then you can come and see me as an NHS patient.

And there are lots of benefits to being seen as an NHS patient in a private hospital under this E-Referral system.

You will be seen by me (not a junior doctor in training or a consultant who doesn’t really specialise in shoulder and elbow problems), you will have your X-rays or scans done at the same place and, if you need surgery, it will be done there as well.

There are a lot of benefits and no real downside to this system.

You get proper continuity of care as you are seen by me, assessed by me, operated on by me and followed up my me. That means I will know all about your case, about any concerns you may have raised with me and I will be better able to judge your progress on an individual basis and so pick up any potential problems much earlier.

Often the patient’s biggest worry is infection and the fear that they could develop MRSA or pick up another bug while in an NHS hospital. That risk is virtually non-existent in the independent sector hospitals.

Probably the only drawback is that we don’t have the same Intensive Care facilities that the NHS does. So there is a very small number of patients who have other significant medical problems that puts them at a higher risk of complications, where we say this system is not for them. In those cases we probably wouldn’t even advocate an operation unless it was essential and we would recommend that it were done in the local general hospital with ITU back-up – just in case.

It all sounds a bit too good to be true but this is really the case.

Getting in to see me should be very easy but it can sometimes be quite difficult depending on whether your GP knows about the service and agrees with it or doesn’t know about it or possibly doesn’t approve of it. If they know about it and use my services then it should be a simple process and you could get an appointment within a month or maybe less. If they don’t know about them you will need to explain about the ‘Choose and Book’ system (or E-Referral as it is now known) that exists in those private hospitals.

There is a bit more of a wait for appointments and surgery than for a privately insured patient but it is all much, much quicker than on the traditional NHS.

And this system is national – you can come and see me from anywhere in England (there are different systems in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). You may need to explain it to your GP but unless there is a local triage system in place, as there is locally, then you are entitled to choose where you go for your treatment.

Usually the referral can be organised by your GP on their computer system or they will give you a password so that you can make your own booking directly via the Internet.

If your GP does not use the computer based system then they just need to fax the referral clearly marked “NHS REFERRAL” to:

Woking Nuffield. 08452803251

Princess Margaret Hospital, Windsor.
NHS Co-ordinators 08442412725

Ashtead Ramsay Hospital, Ashtead
NHS co-ordinators 01372 221467

E-Referral is a great system and allows me to offer an excellent service to NHS patients. This is not the forum for making political statements but this is not ‘privatisation by the back door’ and nor does it cost the NHS any more to send you to see me as an NHS patient in a private hospital than it does to go your local NHS hospital.

The founding principle of the NHS was that care would be free at the point of need or delivery. It never said that the care had to be in a huge, run-down facility with long waits, no continuity of care and high infection risks. It simple said ‘free’. And E-Referral is free for you as an NHS patient.

www.chooseandbook.nhs.uk

PLEASE NOTE:

This system operates separately from my privately insured system and my secretary does not get involved in making any initial NHS appointments. Please do not use the contact numbers or email address on this site to try and make NHS appointments as you will be bounced back to your GP.