Dr Graham Cooper tells us about Specialist Connect designed for expats (and others) seeking care in the UK.
Anyone looking for private medical care in the UK will know it is an imperfect process. There's no central way to assess expertise and availability, so usually, it's a case of searching randomly for specialists and submitting multiple enquiries. It’s time consuming and can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you're looking for treatment promptly or perhaps during a specific time window.
The challenges facing the NHS have led to an increase in the number of people self-paying for treatment and, indeed, more people taking out private health insurance. That means that the private sector is busier than ever, and therefore, finding an appropriate specialist available when you need one is more challenging than it was in the past.
If you have a medical condition, knowing the type of specialist you need to see is not always straightforward.
For example, if you have an issue in the back of your mouth, do you need a maxillofacial specialist, an ENT consultant or an oral surgeon? Nowadays medicine is so specialised that finding the right consultant can be a minefield. You need to find a specialist with topflight expertise for your condition.
It's all too easy for those not in the know to make the wrong call, schedule an appointment, and pay for it, only to realise after the consultation that you need to see someone else.
Having worked as a GP in UK and for a significant part of his medical career as an expat, Dr Cooper has seen first-hand how hard it can be for patients to find the right specialist, and as he notes, this can be particularly difficult for those living overseas seeking to refer to a private UK consultant, which is why he created Specialist Connect.
Graham explains that with the number of information sources available a lay person often finds it confusing to try and assess a consultant’s special expertise and suitability. This is where Specialist Connect comes in – with a professionally backed selection of the most appropriate specialist.
Graham has been using his experience to do this successfully for over a decade. He emphasises that unlike most resources Specialist Connect is independent and not linked with or tied to any health or consultant group, the selections are focused purely on the clients’ needs.
Initially, Dr Cooper created his service for those living overseas, who may find it particularly difficult to enquire about private treatment in Britain. However, he recognises there are people living in UK who will use his service to get the right care as quickly as possible and for sheer convenience.
Graham says he has noticed that an increasing number of UK residents have been seeking advice recently, which he welcomes. The services of Specialist Connect are just as relevant for local residents as expats, particularly as the demand for private consultations increases.
Initially, you will have a confidential discussion generally by phone, during which the details of your medical issue can be established. Dr Cooper will also find out when and where you would prefer to see the specialist.
Then, using comprehensive medical databases, several potential candidates will be identified before a review of other publications and the professional media for supporting evidence of their expertise enables a final selection.
Dr Cooper will then make a recommendation and explain the basis of the selection. If wished, he will also confirm an appointment with the specialist.
Specialist Connect is re-assuringly affordable, given the expertise you get access to, and the time, potential stress and money it can save.
A search, as described above, costs £120 to initiate and after the selection is successfully completed a further £120 is payable. Dr Cooper can also arrange a confirmed appointment and a letter of introduction for a modest additional fee.
Dr Cooper has been providing this service for over ten years now; in that time, he has helped numerous patients and received some outstanding feedback.
Pulling out some of the endorsements from his list of excellent clients' feedback, they say things such as:
These are just a handful of examples, all confirming that Specialist Connect provides a consistently high-quality service.
Dr Cooper will contact you promptly and will be happy to discuss any queries.
Disclaimer: This information is general and what is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances. Please speak with a financial adviser or do your own research before making a decision.
While there are many private medical specialists in the UK, the process tends to be a bit clunky. You'll need to contact multiple consultants' secretaries bu phone or email and see if they have availability. Alternatively, you can contact a private hospital and speak with them.
Specialist Connect can help with this, though, so contacting Dr Cooper is a great way to start.
If you visit a medical specialist in a private hospital or require any treatment, there will typically be additional fees from the hospital. Also, bear in mind that private healthcare professionals can only write private prescriptions, so you'll need to pay for those.
Each of the major insurers has a list of specialists, which can be a good place to start. Alternatively, look at the PHIN website.
No, prices range fairly significantly, so finding one within your budget is worth researching.