Consultation: What to expect

I look forward to assisting you to better health and to a productive working partnership. Many people find the prospect of a consultation with a psychiatrist rather daunting and I hope the following may help alleviate the process. Please take the time to read this information to help you make better use of the services I offer. Hopefully it will give you the answers to many frequently asked questions about my practice.

As a psychiatrist, I am a medically qualified doctor and I specialise in the assessment and treatment of conditions that affect mental health. Unlike a psychologist or psychotherapist, I am able to prescribe medication if it is warranted. I have been trained to manage a wide range of psychological problems including depressive and anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, postnatal mental health issues and numerous other conditions that affect one’s psychological wellbeing. Please do not feel stigmatised about seeking help.

I am a private, self-employed general adult psychiatrist and can treat patients aged 18-65 years. During the current Covid pandemic, I am providing Skype based consultations for all new patient referrals instead of “face to face”, and telephone consultations for follow up appointments, unless Skype is preferred. I am able to conduct a face to face assessment for emergency patients who require inpatient care at The Priory Hospital Roehampton which is the UK’s largest private psychiatric hospital.

“During the pandemic, I am offering Skype video consultations for new patients and telephone follow ups for those I am familiar with. Please note that it is your responsibility to provide my secretary with a reliable phone number to contact me for your scheduled appointment. If I am unable to reach you, and don’t call you within 10 minutes of your appointment time, you should call my secretary on 020 8392 4203 and ask to be connected to her”.

The initial consultation usually takes about an hour during which you can tell me about your symptoms and circumstances that you feel might be contributing to the situation you present with. I will use the time to ask you about your background, your upbringing and your relationships as these will usually have had some bearing on your current situation. It would also be useful if you could provide me with a list of current medication (if any) that you may be taking. The frequency of follow-up appointments will vary according to your clinical need and usually lasts up to half an hour. Following psychiatric assessment and evaluation, I will discuss a formulation and management plan with you.

Most patients I see invariably get referred for psychological therapy so that they can learn to use skills to help them overcome their current difficulties or past trauma as well as gain additional ways of dealing with future circumstances that could prove troublesome. I refer to a variety of psychotherapists to help you with this task and therapy can include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, supportive counselling, anxiety management techniques and relaxation training amongst others. Family and couple/relationship therapy can also be arranged if required. In addition to individual therapy, I am able to refer patients to attend a selection of psychological group therapies as a day patient at The Priory Hospital Roehampton.

If your condition is more serious and requires inpatient treatment, I can arrange for your admission to The Priory Hospital Roehampton. I usually see my inpatients approximately twice a week.

In keeping with General Medical Council guidelines, I follow good medical practice of communicating with your NHS GP. I do not routinely send you a copy of the letter but you are welcome to a copy at any stage if requested. If you would prefer not to have a detailed assessment report sent to your GP, please let me know and I will abbreviate it accordingly. If medication is prescribed by me, it is very important for your GP to know about it as it may interact with other medications that the GP might wish to prescribe for you. In addition, obtaining medication from your NHS GP is usually considerably cheaper than dispensing a private prescription written by me.

I will do my very best to inform you of various treatment options and discuss the ‘pros and cons’ of each so that your views can be fully taken into account before we reach a consensual agreement on your management plan. If you are unhappy with any aspect of your care, please feel free to contact me as soon as you can so that any issues can be resolved as quickly as possible.

I welcome feedback about my practice.