Do you see patients without a GP referral letter?
Yes. The majority of patients I see will have a referral and I believe that involving your GP in your care is beneficial and so I would normally advise that you see your GP before making an appointment to see me. However, there are times when patients prefer to seek my help without involving their GP and that is fine too. Please let me know at the time of the consultation if you do not want your GP to receive any correspondence from me.
Will you have access to all my past medical records and blood tests?
Unfortunately the private sector works completely independently of the NHS. I will only have access to information you provide or that is provided by your GP. I am totally dependent on the quality of the referral letter from your GP and the results attached to it. If you have had a number of tests already carried out by your GP, it is worth asking for a print out of these and bringing them with you to your appointment ─ in my experience the GP referral may say that ‘results are attached’, but in practice they often don’t make it to the consultation!
If you have arranged an appointment with me very shortly after seeing your GP, the referral letter may not have been typed, sent or received. It is worth checking that the letter has been written and faxed/emailed if required at short notice.
What is the difference between a trichologist and you?
There is no regulation over who can call himself or herself a ‘trichologist’ or a ‘consultant’. Some may belong to the institute of trichologists and have had some structured training, but unfortunately many others have not and make their living from selling inappropriate and ineffective lotions and potions.
I am a qualified medical doctor and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP). I specialise in dermatology with a sub-speciality in hair and scalp disorders. I apply the same thorough medical approach to dealing with hair and scalp conditions as I do to the treatment of skin conditions. Scalp conditions are often no different from conditions elsewhere on the body. Having an in-depth understanding of dermatology therefore is important to managing all but the most trivial scalp problems.
Most hair disorders are due to problems affecting the hair growing structure (known as the follicle). Understanding exactly where and what the problem is enables effective treatments to be used.
Having a medical background means I have the scientific knowledge to organise and interpret the appropriate tests, which leads to a more accurate diagnosis, so a more effective treatment and care plan.
Do you carry out treatments during the first appointment?
I prefer to offer a ‘see and do’ service for simple problems. That means if there is an irritating skin lesion that needs to be removed, I’ll do it at the time of the first appointment whenever time allows. It is usually possible to do this within the initial 30 minute appointment.
Rashes that require a biopsy, lesions that can be shaved or curetted (scraped) can all be treated on the day. Larger lesions that require a formal excision (cutting out) and closure with stitches take longer and are usually booked at a later date. This applies to skin cancer surgery too.
What should I do if I can’t keep my appointment?
It is really important that you contact my secretary [link to contact page] with as much notice as possible so that we can schedule this time for another patient. Regrettably you will be liable for a £40 cancellation fee if you do not give us at least 48 hours notice of cancellation.
Will I get a copy of your correspondence with my GP?
Yes. All patients receive a copy of any letters written to their GP, which contain the treatment instructions. We will email or post this to you within a few days of the consultation and often you will receive this before your GP.