Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a selection of frequently asked questions. Please select a section from the menu below to jump to the relevant section. If what you are looking for cannot be answered here then please contact us.
Do you have disabled access at the clinic?
There are a few steps into the clinic so please inform us of any special requirements when booking your appointment and one of our team will assist you with all arrangements during your visit. There is drop off access outside the clinic but parking on Fitzhardinge Street is for resident permit holders only.
We are able to organize interpreter services, but you should let us know in advance in order that this can be arranged. We can also arrange accommodation and make travel arrangements as necessary. Please contact us for further details.
Can I have imaging done on the same day as my appointment?
We provide rapid access throughout the Imaging department with most examinations being performed on the same day. The department is open from 8am till 8pm Monday-Friday and 8am till 1pm on Saturdays. We also offer a comprehensive out of hours service for any urgent referrals.
What is the difference between MRI, Ultrasound and X-ray
You can find out more about the different types of scan here.
Why do I have to arrive early for a scan?
This is critical to ensure there is sufficient time to complete the screening process and to make sure it is safe to do your exam. If you cannot get to your appointment on time you should call as soon as possible. This will allow us to try and switch your time with someone else. We will attempt to provide you with an alternate slot the same day, if there is one available.
What happens when I come for an imaging appointment?
When you arrive for your imaging appointment, our radiographers will ask you some questions. You will also be required to fill in a questionnaire about your health and medical history, and you may be asked to sign a consent form. If you are having an MRI scan or X-ray please tell us if have a pacemaker or any other metallic implant or device. You should also let us know if you think you may be pregnant.
You may eat and drink normally before and after the scan unless you have been told otherwise. All instructions will be on your appointment letter – please read it carefully.
What happens during an MRI scan?
When you come for your appointment it is advisable to wear clothing without metal fastenings, or we can provide a gown, as you will not be allowed to take or wear anything metallic or with magnetic strips into the scan room, except a wedding ring. You may wear your glasses but they will be taken off immediately before the scan.
The scan is not painful but you will have to lie still for up to 20 minutes on a hard surface. The radiographers will do their best to make you comfortable. If you have any pain or discomfort that could lead to difficulties with the scan, please tell the radiographer before your scan.
During the scan, you will hear a variety of loud noises which are made by magnetic coils that switch on and off during the scan. These coils measure the signal coming from your body in order to create the images. The noise is caused by them being switched on and off so rapidly that they vibrate. We provide patients with ear defenders or earplugs that help reduce this noise.
The scanner is open at both ends, and our modern scanners are much shorter and wider than older models, but some people may find this experience claustrophobic. If you are worried about this, please discuss this with us before you come for your scan.
During the scan, the radiographer will be able to see you from the control room and you can talk to each other through an intercom. You will be given a call button to press and may be able to listen to music during the scan.
Scans can take between 20 minutes and an hour. If your scan is going to take longer you will be told this when your appointment is made. You may leave the department as soon as your scan is finished.
What happens during an Ultrasound scan?
For most ultrasound examinations no specific preparation is needed. However, to examine certain areas of the body successfully, special preparation is sometimes required so please read your appointment letter carefully, it will give you full instructions on how to prepare for the scan.
If the area to be examined is underneath your clothing you may be asked to remove some clothing and given a hospital gown.
In the examination room you will be made comfortable on a couch, lying in a position which allows the sonographer to examine the area needing investigation. The room will be slightly darkened and a screen will be beside the bed. Clear gel will be put on your skin over the area being examined. This helps the transmission of the sound waves through the skin. The gel will wipe off easily after the test, but it is best not to wear any clothing which could be damaged by stains.
The sonographer will slide a small hand-held instrument transmitting the sound waves over the skin and examine the pictures displayed on the screen. The instrument causes no pain but if the area being examined is already a little tender, there may be minor discomfort if the sonographer has to press more firmly in order to obtain a clear picture.
The examination may take between 10 and 45 mins during which time you may be asked to change position to allow the area to be looked at from different angles.
Providing no other investigations are required, you will be able to eat, drink and resume normal activities as soon as you wish.
What happens during an X-ray?
Unless you are told otherwise in your appointment letter, no special preparation is needed for an X-ray.
If the area to be examined is underneath your clothing you may be asked to remove some clothing and given a hospital gown. You may be asked to lie on a couch (X-ray table), stand against a vertical board (upright) or sit in a chair, depending upon the body part to be X-rayed.
The Radiographer will help you to get into the correct position, and will then position the X-ray tube correctly by shining a light on the area to be X-rayed. You will be asked to keep still while the Radiographer takes the X-ray, which you will not see or feel. This procedure may happen several times, using different positions depending upon the area being X-rayed. The examination normally takes between 10 and 30 minutes.
You will be asked to wait while your images are processed. Once the Radiographer is happy with the technical outcome of the images the examination will be over and you will be able to leave the department.
Once the examination is complete you will be able to leave the department and undertake your normal activities. A Consultant Radiologist will report on your X-rays and your consultant will discuss them with you.
Are there any risks from X-rays?
There is very little risk with having an X-ray., as diagnostic X-ray examinations involve relatively low doses of radiation, which compare to natural background radiation.
The use of X-rays is subject to strict regulations and the use of X-rays is assessed on the principle that the risk of having the X-ray examination outweighs the risk of not having the X-ray examination. Female patients who are, or might be pregnant, should tell the Radiographer who will decide if special precautions need to be taken.
Following the scan, your images must be carefully interpreted by a radiologist who is an expert in this field. He or she will prepare a report for your consultant, which will be ready within 2 hours. Your consultant will discuss the results with you.
Do I need to pre-approve my treatment at Fortius with my insurance company?
If you have medical insurance, you will need to contact your insurer to confirm whether you are covered for your consultation and imaging appointment(s) and whether you will need a GP referral. Your insurance company will provide you with an authorisation code which you will be required to provide when booking your appointment, along with your policy or membership number.
What do I need to provide at the time of my appointment?
- Insured patients
Please bring your pre-authorisation code for your consultation and/or treatment, along with your policy or membership number. All of this information can be attained from your insurance company.
- Overseas insurance
Patients with insurance through an overseas insurer will be required to pay on the day of appointment(s) and then claim back from their insurance company. However, if you present with a letter of guarantee with all the correct details we may be able to deal directly with your insurer.
Self-pay patients will be asked to settle the full cost of the consultation and any radiology service or procedure. Payment is welcomed on the day of the appointment if not an invoice can be raised and sent to you. However, the payment is required within 7 days.
- Overseas patients and visiting tourists
Patients from overseas will be asked to pay at the end of their appointment(s) and receipted invoices can be provided.
- Embassies or sponsored patients
Embassy or sponsored patients should always present with a letter of guarantee on headed paper stating who is responsible for their consultation and treatment at the clinic and where exactly the invoice needs to be directed. Without the letter of guarantee patients may be asked to settle their own account.
What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, cheques and all major credit cards except American Express. All patients are ultimately responsible for the settlement of their account, should any insurer or third party sponsor fail to pay in full.
Your consultant’s office will be able to provide an estimated total cost of treatment, which will include hospital and anaesthetist fees, in addition to the consultant fee. Please note that only the consultant fee may be asked to be collected and we have no control over any other fee.
How do I chose who to see?
All of our specialists are fully trained and accredited in the UK. They are full members of their regulatory bodies, working in central London. Our consultants are all recognized and registered with the major insurance companies. We pride ourselves on the quality and reputation of our specialist consultants who are each highly qualified experts in their own field. You can find out more about our consultants or specialist teams here, or call our appointments team, who will be happy to discuss your needs.
Alternatively you can visit your usual GP and ask for their referral advice. Your GP may give you a referral letter or may send it direct to us.
What if I already know the consultant I wish to see?
Call us to get a guide price and to book an appointment with the consultant of your choice. If you have medical insurance, you will also need to contact your insurer to confirm whether you are covered for your consultation and whether you will need a GP referral. If so, visit your GP and ask to be referred to a specialist at Fortius.
What if I have received a referral from my GP or Physiotherapist?
Call us to book an appointment with one of our consultants. If you are claiming on your insurance, you may need a referral letter from the health practitioner you saw, or from your GP, and you should contact your insurer to confirm whether you are covered for the consultation and any subsequent treatment.
What if I have received a referral from my GP or Physiotherapist?
Call us to find out how we can help you to transfer from NHS to private care. You may need a new referral or you may simply be able to transfer under the same consultant. If you are insured you should also confirm with your insurer that you are covered for the treatment.
Appointments and cancellation
What can I expect at an appointment?
You will be taken care of throughout your visit by one of our reception team who will guide you through your appointment.
When you arrive at our FItzhardinge street clinic, our reception team will greet you and provide you with registration forms to check and complete, so it’s best to arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time. The team will direct you to a comfortable waiting area near to your consultant’s room, from where the consultant or nurse will come to collect you.
Your consultant will listen to you carefully, assess what is wrong, and then design a step-by-step treatment and recovery plan that’s right for you.
The consultant may request further investigations to assist in a diagnosis. MRI Ultrasound, X-ray and blood tests can be done in clinic.
If you have had previous scans or X-rays related to your condition, please bring these along to all your consultations. Please also bring any copies of letters from your GP or specialists.
We’ll also manage the paperwork for you, from correspondence with your GP or consultant during the referrals process, to making arrangements with hospitals if surgery is required, and processing claims for payment with medical insurance providers.
If a follow up consultation or further investigations are required the consultant will indicate this and will put you in contact with their office to arrange. The consultant will then write to your GP and any other referring professionals who will be continuing your care. This will summarise your consultation and the planned investigations. A copy is also available for you if requested.
You can find out here what our patients say about their experiences
What happens if I need a follow up?
The consultant will discuss with you the results from your consultation and diagnostic investigations. He will recommend the most appropriate treatment for your condition which may be discharging you, referring you on to another health professional, booking you in for further treatment or follow up or an immediate nursing appointment in clinic.
If surgery is indicated then the consultant will explain the whole procedure to you and what to expect afterwards.
What happens if I need a operation?
If an operation is needed we will help arrange this for you. Surgery will require admission to one of our operating hospitals in London. Your consultant’s PA will book this for you.
All medical insurers usually cover these hospitals. It is however important to always check with your insurer regarding your proposed operation and cover for the hospital and all fees. We will assist you with any information that you require. If you are a self paying patient we are able to assist in getting hospital fees.
You will be provided with instructions of when to stop eating and drinking, and when to arrive at the hospital.
Once admitted and settled in your room or day unit, a nurse will confirm your identity and place a wristband on you. Some baseline observations will be undertaken and the nurse will be able to answer any other questions you have about your hospital stay. Any further required investigations like an ECG, chest X-ray and blood tests might be carried out at this time.
Your consultant surgeon will visit you before your operation and will ask you to sign a consent form for the procedure. He will also visit you after your operation to check on your recovery.
The consultant anaesthetist will also need time with you before your operation to inform you about your anaesthetic and to check your health. Surgery can be undertaken under local, regional or general anaesthesia. You can discuss this with your surgeon and anaesthetist.
What happens if I need to cancel my appointment?
What happens if I need my dressing changed?
Fortius Clinic has a dressings facilities at our outpatient centre on Fitzhardinge street.Plaster removal and wound checks are carried out by our skilled nursing team in conjunction with your consultant.
Fortius Clinic recommends that you consult your insurance company regarding cover for the plaster casts, dressings, splints, slings and boots. This will help you to avoid any shortfall fees. Insurance companies do vary as to how much cover they provide for Orthopaedic products. You will need to pay for the Orthopaedic products on the day and you will be issued with a receipt so that you can reclaim costs with your insurer accordingly.
What happens if I need help with rehabilitation?
All our consultants work closely with a range of rehabilitation specialists throughout London and the outer regions. Your consultant will help you to find a practitioner that is appropriate for you in your return to normal functional programme.