Help...I don't know what to do!

I have a private appointment next Wednesday with an EP at his private clinic. He also works at the Cardiology unit at the hospital where I have my first NHS appointment at the end of September. Can someone tell me (as I am becoming rather anxious about it), how do folks transfer from their first private appointment with an EP to continue treatment on the NHS? When I asked if I could have a Doctor's referral for the private appointment, he said he had already referred me....hence the NHS appointment in September. The surgery are, rather, printing my AF history for me to take to the private appointment. Do you think I should cancel the private appointment...since I will meet the guy at some point when I go to the Cardiology unit in the NHS hospital 5 weeks later?

18 Replies

  • I saw an EP privately and after the consultation he asked me if I had private insurance or if I wished to be reviewed in the NHS, so it was easy to transfer. As you only have 5 weeks between private and NHS, it's really down to whether you want to spend the fee and have really fast treatment. Sounds good to me.

  • Thanks Finvola. Am I right in thinking I will get treated more quickly via the NHS if I see the EP privately? If so, it will definitely be worth paying to see him...

  • I can't answer that one clanmaggie - the waiting times here were horrendous but my 2 NHS reviews have been on time so perhaps once you are in the EP's system, there is more automaticity (pardon pun). Unless fees are an issue, I agree with Rellim's advice.

  • I may be wrong but i think that you still have to take your place on the N.H.S. waiting list. You save time by not having to wait for a consultation. For example, i saw an E.P. in 3 weeks wheras the N.H.S. waiting list for a consultation with a cardiologist was 8 months . Following my private appointment, i was trasferred to N.H.S. for an ablation and then had to wait 6months for that. I live ib Wales and it may be different somewhere else. X

  • Unless you want to save money, I would keep the private appointment and discuss the NHS one with the consultant. He may not need to see you again in a few weeks but if he does, the appointment is there.

    You'll have more time with the consultant at the private appointment and can ask as many questions as you want. You don't run the risk that, if he is busy, you will see someone else instead.

    I've saw my EP privately once and it was a good move. I wish now that I had done the same when I was first referred as it would have speeded everything up. There seems to be no problem with swapping between private treatment and the NHS.

  • That's exactly what I think Rellim! It could work in clanmaggies favour. If the EP wants tests done etc(he may do those on the NHS)then it could work out that The nhs appointment Falls at the right time for discussing the results and the next step of treatment.

    I would tell him about the NHS appointment during the private one. You're doing nothing wrong clanmaggie, so don't be worried.


  • For some reason that seems to work for people here seeing EP's. From my experience it no longer seems not to work in other areas of the NHS.

  • I flit between NHS and Private. No one to date has had any issues. My view is that in regard to AF and its effects on you, and the suggested treatments, ALL advice and information can only be very positive. The NHS say they have cured me. No, they have stabilised me with large quantities of forever medication, and my heart rate is controlled. I am far from cured. So, at the end of the month, I am seeing one of the best EP's in the game. I gave it a year to see how I fared, after being pronounced cured by the NHS. The fact that I am now going privately, to an EP, may give you an insight as to how I am.

  • I have been under the same EP for 13 years. I started privately, consultations, drugs, then an ablation, all private. Then I changed to NHS but still with him. I had other private consultations which I paid for as no longer insured, followed by a monitor with the NHS ordered by him as a result of the private consultation, then back to him for interpretation and the an ablation under the NHS (by him).

    My GP told me that you cannot go between private and NHS more than once. The EP said this was wrong and he explained why, and I didn't understand I'm afraid but he seemed certain of his ground.

    So for me, private or NHS, it's the same guy, just quicker when private.


  • Thank you so much for your very helpful replies. I will definitely keep my private appointment!


  • Definitely keep your private appointment because as Relim says you will get far more time with him for him to explain and you to ask questions.

    If you go straight to see him on the NHS there is no guarantee that you will actually see him. You may get seen by his registrar or one other of his senior team. However by going privately the first time there is probably a better chance that you will see the consultant himself in future on the NHS (maybe not the first time since you will have only seen him a few weeks earlier - just depends on his way of holding clinics).

  • Thanks for posting this question. I was referred by my GP to Cardiology at our local hospital and after three weeks got a letter saying the wait would be 26-28 weeks. I then asked her to refer me privately but to be honest can only afford a consultation and not all in Private, we don't have insurance. Glad to know I can mix and match, I just want to speak to someone who knows what they are talking about, my GP is lovely but admits she isn't a cardiologist.

  • keep your private appointment. There's no guarantee that you will see the same person at the NHS appointment especially if it's a large hospital/clinic

  • Very I teresting discussion. Having had a terrible appointment with NHS cardiologist at the district hospital, I asked the GP to refer me to a heart rhythm specialist, as recommended in AFA literature. Was told that you must go from GP to cardiology, and they refer to EP if ablation being considered. No suggestion that one could go straight to EP. Am about to have six day monitor fitted. I asked how the reading would be understood in the context of me being on 5mg biso, if I show few if any symptoms, and was advised this is good as it showed the treatment worked. I don't agree. Symptoms suppressed is all! I think the AF is linked to having had polymyalgia rheumatica, which could have implications for treatment. Also interested in fact I have only nocturnal symptoms. So I wonder about whether I need to consider anything else eg cellular electrolytes, diet, etc. Any thoughts anyone?

  • You'll get far longer in the private appointment and it is guaranteed to be with the consultant him/herself, rather than some junior who is supervised by the consultant. Stick with the private consultation - it's rarely a waste of money

  • I went for a private consultation and it was worth every penny. It was a 12 week wait to see the EP and it was reassuring to have the private chat. But in terms of speeding up the process it was a trip to A&E which worked best. My heart was racing so went to A&E where they stabilised it and referred me to the rapid access cardiology clinic run by arrhythmia nurses within a few days. The clinic arranged 24 HR Holter monitor and echocardiogram so whe I finally got to see the EP he had all the results and put me on hhis cardioversion list and ablation list straightaway. Also arranged a test to see if I could take Flecainide. It saved about 3 months I think because otherwise I would have seen him, had tests then waited to see him again... another 12 weeks or more.

  • Thank you again for all your replies. I'll let you know how I get on on Wednesday when I see the EP privately. If it wasn't for this site, I wouldn't have had a clue about the best (and quickest) way to move forward towards the treatment I need. Finding out that I was in persistent AF when I had never been diagnosed with paroxysmal AF was a huge shock. I thought I would be sent to my local hospital for a cardio version almost immediately but it is now 4 months since diagnosis.


  • When I was first diagnosed i was in persistent AF. Saw an EP less than two weeks later and the first step was an echo and he put me on flecainide and apixaban (GP put me on Bisoprolol straight away). He said about cardioversion but not until echo to determine heart condition and not until I had been on apixaban and flecainide for over a month. Then zapped!!!! However he had told me that as I was in persistent AF it was unlikely to keep me in sinus rthythm for very long. The two key things he wanted from the cardioversion was could I be returned to sinus rthythm (almost all do) and importantly did I feel better being in sinus rthythm (yes I most definitely did!!!).

    As for any ordinary doctor (GP or in hospital) arranging a cardioversion they don't normally do it unless they are sure someone has only recently gone into AF or they are on Anticoagulation and the patient has seen an EP or cardiologist. Obviously when someone has had a cardiac arrest the stroke risk is immaterial.

    Apologies if you have read this before.

    Good luck on Wednesday.

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