Log in
AF Association
16,809 members19,933 posts

Finding a private Cardiologist

Hi,

I am waiting to see a Cardiologist on the NHS but as we all worry about our health and want answers straight away I decided to see a private Cardiologist just for the initial consultation. Anyway last night I searched the Internet for a private Cardiologist and found one who works in my area at the Nuffield hospitals. I'm just concerned as I emailed the Cardiologist and within an hour I received a reply from him saying he could see me tomorrow. Great I thought as it would stop me worrying but when I told my husband he said why would a Cardiologist email late on a Sunday evening and a Cardiologist would have a secretary whom I would have to go through so now I'm concerned. The cost was £180 and hubby said that's to much but I thought it was about right. I really want to go to this appointment but I'm worried as you hear of fake sites so I'm really stuck.

31 Replies
oldestnewest

I think you need to check him/her out before you see them.

First if you have AF then you need to see an EP - Electrophysiologist who is a specialist cardiologist focusing on the heart electrics - you will find a list on the AFA website. Lots of information on that site so please do some homework before seeing anyone - it will help with understanding and questions to ask your specialist.

You can also look at the Nuffield website and look at your specialist's CV, training etc. If you are seeing them at a Nuffield Hospital you could also ring them for information.

I am assuming you haven't paid up front - a doctor will always invoice you after the event - usually they are quite lax and can take up to 4-6 weeks after in my experience.

£180 sounds on the low side quite honestly - I would have circa £250 + costs of test such as ECG which would be £100+ And will be invoiced by the hospital.

I haven't heard of scams but it would be prudent to always check out a doctor's credentials - pretty easy if you go to one the medical professional sites.

I do hope you haven't been scammed but I do understand your concerns.

Advice for future/others:

1. Find out specialist consultants in your local area hospital by going on the the hospital site and looking at the consultant's list. Some hospitals will publish a doctor's training, experience etc but many will not but you should be able to then find out.

2. You can ring their NHS secretary - numbers will be on the website - and ask questions, including if they have a private practice and where it is located.

3. Never pay up front.

Hope all is well and please do post an update - we are here to help.

Best wishes CD.

4 likes
Reply

PS - most will ask for a GP letter of referral - not an absolute but good practice as no private specialist will have access to your medical records and therefor will need to know contraindications for meds, underlying conditions, results of previous tests etc.

Prudence and Patience for medical matters - instant gratification is not appropriate. Go well.

3 likes
Reply

Hi, I've been on the AFA website several times looking for the list of EPs but can't find it. Could you tell me where it is? Thanks

Reply

As per the AFA admin post below

heartrhythmspecialists.org/

1 like
Reply

That does sound cheap for a first consultation. Trying ringing Bupa who will give you details of a cardiologist with their secretaries number.

1 like
Reply

Agree with CD 100%.......you can find a list of consultants who specialise in arrythmias on the AFA webpage, but it is by no means definitive...eg, my EP isn't on the list, but he has an excellent reputation!!... I paid around £230 to see him.

Reply

Why don't you post the EP's name and you'll get someone on here who knows him probably?

Or is that confidential? Can't see why it should be.

Koll

Reply

PS. Just looked at my emails from my EP's secretary and the private health company he does work for, and many are outside normal hours, up to 10pm.

Reply

Well it is not usually their day job. They are mainly NHS consultants working at more than one private hospital. Montefiore Hospital in Hove said they did not need a letter from my GP but it is preferable. Initial consultation earlier this year was £180

1 like
Reply

Did you find them to be good and send your GP a letter as i was offered this hospital plus Haywards Heath .

Reply

Sent letter to me, my GP, my NHS cardiologist and consultant at hypertension centre within two days. I had several questions after the consultation and after my cardiac procedure that I sent to his PA and all were answered by him the same day. As his PA works in the NHS office and from home she is always available.

My follow up appointment two months after the procedure was also £180 and included an echocardiogram.

Reply

Please consider visiting heartrhythmspecialists.org for a list of electrophysiologists (hear rhythm specialists) across the country. When you find one who is local to you, you can then Google them for information on whether they take on private patients. Alternatively, you can contact us on info@afa.org.uk or 01789 867502 for us to signpost you.

Best wishes. Rachel - Patient Services Associate - AF Association

Reply

I went on the website of the NHS Hospital near where I live (Bristol, so the BRI) and on there it has a little profile of each of the cardiologists that work there. If any of them were specialised as Electro physiologists I Googled to see if they also worked at either of the local private hospitals (Spire and Nuffield) and then emailed them if they did. I then got an appointment with the first one that emailed me back!

1 like
Reply

Hi UScore,

The Cardiologist i found also works at Nuffield Hospital near me and he emailed me back offering me an appointment but on the Nuffield site i asked could i have NHS treatment and they said that i would still have to see the NHS cardiologist for nhs treatment so now im very confused.

Reply

I can only tell you how it worked for me.

My GP referred me for an NHS appointment with a cardiologist. I didn't receive an appointment for a while, and I was going on holiday. I wanted to speed things up so I got a private appointment, as described above. The Private EP Cardiologist would only see me if I had a referral, but a copy of the referral letter my GP had already written previously was fine; it didn't need to be addressed to her.

By the time I had my private appointment, I'd had an Echo Cardiogram done, on the NHS, also arranged by my GP. I was able to take a copy of the results along with me to the private appointment.

At the private appointment, the cardiologist looked at the various printouts I'd taken; the echo cardiogram and ECG readings I'd kept. She prescribed some medication and said she would arrange to take me on as her NHS patient. I now have another NHS appointment with her in a month's time, and she cancelled the cardiologist appointment my GP had arranged. She has also put me on the waiting list for an Ablation.

I don't know if this is standard practice. But it definitely sped things along as much as I could have hoped for.

2 likes
Reply

Hi,

Thank you so much. You have answered so many questions for me. I did contact my GP again tonight to see if they had made a referral to see a private cardiologist which i asked for last week and they hadn't so i have said that i do want a private consultation and the NHS treatment. It was a bit confusing as yes she is now referring me but asked who i wanted to see as i could choose. Well i have no idea of all the cardiologists so i gave her the name of the one im seeing on the NHS hopefully he sees private patients as well. He is the main consultant at a large hospital so if he doesn't do private then im sure he would recommend one of his team. How did the Drs receptionist expect me to know whom i wanted to see as there are 100's . Fingers crossed that i hear some good news soon and like you i wanted early appointment as had to cancel our holiday to Spain which we should have been on now but more concerned about my health but have rebooked our holiday for mid September now so hope i at least know what if anything is wrong with me as i don't want to have to cancel another holiday and trying to get travel insurance is a nightmare as without a diagnosis i cant answer the questions . Its all very confusing and we don't need this added stress but you have answered all my queries and so much better than the Drs surgery so thanks i really appreciate it.

Reply

Is it Atrial Fibrillation you have been diagnosed with?

Reply

I haven't been diagnosed with anything yet as this all started with a simple Blood test showing i had high level of Troponin. Had few tests at A&E and was just told that i would be seen at Rapid heart clinic. This is what causes the worry as i have no idea. If i hadn't had that blood test none of this would be happening. I just suffer with breathlessness and a slight discomfort but i am a smoker so not good and im also disabled now and as i cant walk with out aid i tend to have to hold on to everything that pulls on my muscles so to be honest when they ask about pain it could be my heart or it could be that im pulling my muscles. I just would like to find out so whatever the answer is i can get appropriate treatment and im a very anxious person and im just scared. Im sure that Troponin can be raised by many different things not just the heart so im at a loss until i have been checked out. This is why i want to go private just for quick answer.

Reply

I paid for a private consultation with an EP, who then immediately arranged for a week-long monitor under the NHS, followed by an ablation under the NHS. Had to wait a long time for both the monitor and the ablation but having the consultation quickly was worth every penny.

1 like
Reply

The cardiologists name is Dr.David Hildick-Smith if anyone knows of him. Also is it true that after seeing a private Cardiologist they then send your GP a letter but you cant get treatment on the NHS unless you see an NHS cardiologist. If so whats the point of paying for a private one. I just want a quick diagnosis so i can stop worrying and start treatment.

Reply

No it is not true but you do need to do your homework! Look at the AFA site which was recommended, look to see who you want to see and make sure they work at the NHS hospital (most will) then all that will happen is that they will transfer you to their NHS list. You won't see them any sooner but having had the initial consultation hopefully they will have put your mind at rest.

Lone AFib is not life threatening and therefor does not always receive priority so there are long waiting lists.

1 like
Reply

He is the one I saw at the Montefiore in Hove. He recently got professor in front of his name. He is really good and fitted my Amplatzer Amulet. Actually the Montefiore in Hove is better than the Nuffield

If you need his PA's contact details ask and I will send them as a private message. As with you he personally answered my initial E-Mail

1 like
Reply
1 like
Reply

Everyone has differing experiences and needs, but my gp originally advised a cardiologist in a hospital an hour away and referred me to him privately. He was perfectly ok, but only made appointments when I was in distress with lack of breath or chest pain. There was no overall plan of attack or diagnosis.

I ended up in our local A&E one night, was admitted to coronary care, where the cardiologist had no access to my notes as they, having been created in a private capacity, were not on the system. No echoes, no ecgs and nothing really in the previous two years for them to go on.

The local hospital and excellent cardiologist did a great job of restoring my rate and rhythm medically and asked whether I wished to go back to my private consultant or stay primarily with them. Naturally, there was no question of which to choose!

A few months later a well meaning relative, a retired EP decided that I should be seen by one of the top people in Northern Ireland as he put it, and made an appointment without my knowledge. I was annoyed, but felt cornered so went under protest, had a consultation and an MRI. That little jaunt cost in excess of £1000, the guy told me that the NHS consultant whom I was seeing locally was the best in the field for my particular set of symptoms, and these test results are not logged on the system either so no good to me.

I apologised profusely to my NHS consultant, and we have a good laugh about it but in my experience the NHS is quicker, cheaper, more proactive and closer geographically so I won't be going down the private route again. I reckon I've spent in excess of £4000 and don't have any record on the system to show for it!

1 like
Reply

That is terrible. All that wasted money. I agree the NHS do a brilliant job and the only reason i want to see a private cardiologist is for some answers as the stress of not knowing whats wrong only causes more pain and anxiety. I will not have treatment privately as i cannot afford it so im hoping to see the cardiologist that i should be seeing on the nhs in August so at least this way i can continue to see him on the nhs afterwards so my results should always be available.

Reply

If you have paid for the tests, aren't you entitled to have a copy?

I always ask, if I have an ECG, if they can run off one for me. I once saw a cardiologist (at our local hospital, fortunately) and my notes had no ECG attached. I was one of his first appointments and was able to nip home and get one taken about 6 months earlier by a first responder. It would almost have been a waste of everybody's time without it.

Reply

Ecgs aren't the problem. I can have those by the ream if I want. I had one every day for nine weeks and have one at every hospital appt.

It's the MRI scans and the Echoes that are missing so had to have more done so they could do comparisons.

I eventually got reports on these which are subjective, just someone's interpretation, but the hospital would like the actual scans which I can't have apparently, even though I paid for them.

Reply

Where are you? I'm in England and I've had private X-Ray, CT and MRI scans and at one hospital was given the disks right away with the report following. The other hospital sent it express post with the report and I received it the next day.

I kept the originals and made copies to give to any doctors/consultants at future appointments.

Reply

Mandie4711 , yes, I understand your position perfectly. I grabbed the chance of going privately immediately when my gp suggested one of his old uni chums, but I don't want to think you are missing out if you don't go completely private. I am in the very fortunate position of being able to choose, and, knowing what I do now, given my particular set of circumstances, and having a great wee hospital within 5 miles, would go NHS every time.

I went privately for all four of my children's pregnancies and births, but that was for time considerations and convenience. I didn't want to waste time away from my business on lengthy appointments so opted for the quick route.

1 like
Reply

Is going private to see a Cardiologist in order to speed up diagnosis and treatment in effect jumping ahead of others morally and ethically right?

Not all AF can be treated by an EP. Mine is caused by a combination of enlarged Atria, Hypertension. A Cardioversion would be ineffective.

1 like
Reply

I think when we are worried about our health and have to wait for such a long time to see a specialist this adds more stress and anxiety on us as not knowing is the worst part or it was for me. I wanted to see a private Cardiologist as since being told that something may be wrong I found I was really anxious everyday and it was affecting my daily life. My Doctor said that yes I may get an appointment quicker but also I might not so as I was so worried I asked o go private. I later found out that my Dr took 2 weeks to even write up my notes about going private. I personally emailed the NHS Cardiologist explaining my fears and it was making me anxious and I got a phone call that day offering me an appointment for the next week and not private. Guess they had a cancellation. I actually saw him yesterday and he was brilliant and although thinks that I am ok that he just wants to do an Echo cardiogram just to make sure. So personally I now feel more at ease knowing I've seen the card and I didn't need to go private. I think that my Drs surgery were extremely slow and I have learnt if you want something doing do it yourself as although no guarantee of seeing them quicker there's always that chance and it worked for me.

Reply

You may also like...