Patient information

Guidance for our patients attending the centre.

The Prostate Centre

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Helping you prepare for your visit

Whether you’re coming to 18 Devonshire St for your first consultation, or having a surgical procedure at the Princess Grace Hospital or the Cancer Centre at Guy’s, we want to make your time with us as stress-free, pleasant and productive as possible.

Knowing what to expect when you come to The Prostate Centre is key, so we’ve prepared the following to help.

Your experience

We suggest you start by taking a good look through our website, in particular our information on PSA testing.

When you phone for an appointment, a member of our Patient Liaison team will ask about your symptoms, take some basic details, explain the procedure for your visit, and schedule an appointment with the appropriate specialist. Some things to remember:

  • Insured patients will need a letter of referral from your GP or specialist. This isn’t just to help us, it’s considered good medical practice by the General Medical Council (GMC). Further down the line, if you’re happy for us to, we’ll send your GP copies of our letters to you, as it’s important for them to know about your tests and treatments. 
    Please note, although you don’t need a GP referral if you’re a self-pay patient, you may find that it’s helpful to have one. If you’re coming for one of our “well man” health checks, you won’t need a referral as insurance policies don’t cover screening.

  • Health insurance companies usually want to know that you have been appropriately referred, and you may find you are refused benefit if you cannot provide proof of this. If you call your claims team and let them know when and why you have made an appointment, you can ask for pre-authorisation.

  • Make sure you’ve read our Terms and Conditions (a copy is available from our team). It’s important that you understand these before making the decision to come to us.

The first time you come to see us, you should allow a couple of hours (the follow-up sessions are likely to be shorter). We do our very best to keep to schedule but, inevitably, sometimes we need extra time to respond to a particular patient’s needs.

You’ll need to fill in some forms on arrival, so please make sure you come with full details of your GP, other relevant specialists and, of course, your insurance. One of our nursing team will have a preliminary chat with you before you meet your specialist, noting your medical history and any current symptoms or concerns.

If you’re experiencing prostate trouble we’ll probably ask you to take a urinary flow test. You’ll need a full bladder for this, so it’s best not to go to the loo the minute you arrive! If you begin to feel uncomfortable, just let us know.

Sometimes the doctor will ask for tests (such as PSA and cholesterol) to be carried out before the consultation. If that’s the case, the nurse will take samples of blood and/or urine. If you’re having a cholesterol test, you’ll need to have fasted for about 12 hours beforehand.

Any further tests will be carried out by a nurse or doctor and, depending on your condition, may include additional blood and urine tests, an ECG, or ultrasound studies etc. We don’t want to repeat tests unnecessarily, so please let us know if you’ve had any of these recently.

You’ll also have a physical examination. This will involve a digital rectal examination, where the doctor feels the prostate gland with a gloved finger while you lie on your side. Most men prefer to have this check in private, so if someone’s come with you, we’ll ask them to leave the room for the examination. Of course, if you’d like them to stay with you, or if you’d feel more comfortable with another member of staff present, just let us know. It’s completely up to you.

While you’re waiting between tests and appointments, we’ll offer you freshly brewed coffee, a variety of teas and cooled water. You’ll also be able to browse our bookshelves for something interesting to read, or ask to watch one of our specially commissioned, patient-focused DVDs.

Depending on the outcome of your consultation, you may require some specialist imaging, such as an MRI, CT or ultrasound scan. With access to state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging centres nearby, we can organise everything for you and have the results sent back to us directly.

Once all your results are in, you’ll be able to discuss them with one of our specialists or nursing team, either by telephone or at a follow-up consultation. You’ll be given a detailed explanation of your potential treatment options, and be fully involved in the decision-making process along with your specialist.

At this point, it’s often a good idea to see other members of The Prostate Centre team. You may, for example, want to learn about the help we offer with post-operation sexual rehabilitation, or how to cope with potential incontinence. If you have any questions, we’re here to help.

Similarly, if you’re scheduled for surgery, we may arrange for you to meet your anaesthetist, who’ll be able to talk to you about how best to prepare for your operation.

We’ll never pressure you into any course of treatment unless you’re completely happy with it. If you want a second opinion, we’ll happily refer you to the best there is, whether in the UK or overseas. Occasionally, the tests we carry out will alert us to other problems you didn’t know you had. In this case, we’re able to refer you to a top specialist in the relevant field, many of whom we know personally.

Operations are performed at a selection of world-class private hospitals nearby, primarily The Princess Grace Hospital and Private Care at Guy's. The theatre and nursing teams at these hospitals are highly experienced and have worked with us for many years.

After your operation, we’ll monitor your progress closely, and one or more of the team will visit you in hospital by every day. A resident doctor will be on hand at all times, and both the nursing and medical staff at the hospitals are well-versed in the specialist care of our patients. They make sure we’re kept informed at every stage of your recovery.

We’re committed to your long-term health, and we’re always happy to see you for a follow-up, either in relation to prostate problems, or to monitor your overall fitness.

If you experience any problems, or have particular concerns you’d like help with, you can phone to book a follow-up consultation at any time. 

When you come for a follow-up, you may need a PSA test, bladder ultrasound and flow rate test. If that’s the case, you’ll need to arrive with a reasonably full bladder.

Please note: Because our model of care is based on a co-ordinated team approach, follow-up consultations are provided by all members of the team. You won’t necessarily see your original consultant for routine aftercare. Your specialist will, of course, be kept fully informed of your case, and for new or non-routine issues you can request to see them.

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Additional services

Accommodation: For patients and family members who live outside London, we can supply a list of hotels and apartments nearby which you might like to consider. We have negotiated significantly lower rates for our patients at some of these.

Language support: Some of our literature is available in Greek and Arabic, for the convenience of our visitors from those countries.

For patients who speak little or no English, we have employed the services of Language-Line, an over-the-phone interpretation service.

*Please check with the centre for our latest guidance regarding COVID-19 restrictions.

Fees and insurance

We like to think our services and facilities are “five-star”. However, you’ll be reassured to know that the majority of our clinical charges are agreed with, and covered by, the major UK-based healthcare insurers. This means that, subject to any limitations on your policy, these fees should be fully reimbursable.

Please be sure to contact your insurer prior to your visit and obtain the necessary pre-authorisation. Otherwise, we ask that you settle your account on the day of attendance.

If you are insured and would like us to send our invoices direct to your insurer, you’ll need to provide all your membership details, pre-authorisation numbers and evidence of any excess or limitation on your policy. Any shortfall, for whatever reason, will remain your liability. We regret that we are unable to deal directly with any overseas insurer.

Insured patients should be aware their insurer is unlikely to pay for all the services we provide. Medical insurance policies do not usually provide cover for problems relating to sexual function, for example, or advice on nutrition, or pre-operative health assessments and other consultations with an anaesthetist.

Please note: health screens, including our prostate health checks, are never covered by insurance. All these sessions must be paid for on the day of attendance, as must any take-home medication from our pharmacy.

You will be expected to settle any fees on the day of attendance. Cheques (drawn on a British bank account only), debit cards, Visa/Mastercard, American Express, cash and travellers’ cheques are all accepted forms of payment.

It’s very important you understand the cost of any tests recommended by your consultant, so please ask for these to be explained in advance to avoid any misunderstanding.

We don’t submit invoices for operations. You’ll need to contact your surgeon or one of our Patient Liaison team to enquire about costs, insurance eligibility and payment policy. Top specialists may charge fees over and above the levels set by some insurers – sometimes by a considerable amount.

We’ll inform you of the relevant fees in time for you to decide whether or not to proceed, and would strongly urge you to find out the level of cover to which you’re entitled, including cover for the hospital you choose, before you commit to treatment.

We’ll happy process your insurance claim forms, so please bring these with you, with the patient’s section completed and signed, when you attend. You can ask to speak to one of our Patient Liaison team if you’d like further clarification on any account issues.

Please be aware we require 24 hours’ notice of any cancellation, otherwise a fee of £100 will apply.

Other useful information

We’re open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, but if you need to speak to someone outside these hours, our answering machine gives an emergency contact number for patients.

We have provisions in place to ensure patients with disabilities can use the full range of our services.

Staff at The Prostate Centre all wear name badges. Unless you indicate otherwise, they’ll address you by your title and surname. They’ll respect your privacy, dignity and religious and cultural beliefs at all times.

We always welcome feedback from patients and visitors to The Prostate Centre. Satisfaction survey questionnaires are available in the waiting room and on our website – please use them and let us know your views. A summary of the survey results is produced annually and is available either online or from the Centre Manager.

We pride ourselves on the dedication of our staff and the high quality of our patient care. However, if for any reason you’re not happy with our service, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

You can write to our Centre Manager, use one of the survey questionnaires or tell us in person. Your concerns will be taken seriously and we’ll keep you informed of the action we take as a result. You can ask to see our full complaints policy at any time.

More about feedback and complaints

The Prostate Centre complies fully with the Data Protection Act 1998. All our data and medical records are maintained in accordance with legislation to ensure the total privacy of the individual. You have the right to see your medical records in accordance with the Health Records Act 1990. Copies of correspondence about you will be sent to you, unless you expressly request otherwise (we will not mark correspondence “Private and Confidential” unless you ask us to); test results and X-ray/scanning images are your property and will be returned to you.

The Prostate Centre is registered with the Care Quality Commission, Finsbury Tower, 103-105 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8TG, telephone 020 7448 9200. The Centre is subject to regular inspections and the results of these may be obtained from the above address or online.