What is Psychiatry?
Psychiatry is the study of mental health problems and their diagnosis, management and prevention. A psychiatrist is a medically-qualified practitioner who will have spent 5-6 years training to be a doctor. They will then have worked as a doctor in general medicine and surgery for at least a year before completing at least 6 years of further training in helping people with psychological problems.
A psychiatrist’s special skills are to assess a person’s state of mind, diagnose a mental illness, use a range of psychological treatments, prescribe a range of medications and help a person in their recovery. As well as these “core” skills, a psychiatrist will often specialise and develop skills in working with the particular problems that affect different groups of people. For example, a general adult psychiatrist needs to develop skills in talking with people who have disordered thinking and is experiencing hallucinations. A child psychiatrist, seeing children up to the age of 18, will usually develop skills in working with families and with the special needs of children.
What we can help with
Psychiatrists are able to help with a wide range of issues including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
What to expect
Before an appointment
To see a psychiatrist you will need to ask your GP to write a letter of referral, as is usual and best practice for seeing a doctor privately and is recommended by the CQC and GMC. This will ensure that she has all the relevant information about your history, medication etc. and that she is the most appropriate person for you to see. Your GP may need to provide some of the ongoing treatment such as longer term prescribing and can receive recommendations that may arise from your assessment. However, it can be discussed if you wish any information to be withheld from your GP, as long as this will not compromise your care.
It may be helpful to bring any previous reports or communications relating to assessments or treatments to the appointment with you, as well as a list of any medication you currently take and doses.
Many people like to make some notes beforehand to help them to communicate or to make sure they cover everything in the appointment.
If your relatives, friends or loved ones want to communicate their views and concerns in a written form that can be useful but they should be aware that information is best shared with you, the patient’s, knowledge and agreement.
You may be asked to fill out a registration form prior to the appointment with some basic details, contacts, consent to share and terms and conditions. This can be emailed or posted or you can fill it out prior to the meeting- if this is required then just arrive a little early in order to do this.
After your appointment
Following the assessment a report summarising your discussion and the assessment will be written including any treatment plan or suggestions. With your consent, this will be sent to your GP and you will be provided with a copy.
The Psychiatrist will discuss with you how best to get in touch with her should you need to do so in between appointments. It should be noted that she will always try to be responsive but is unable to provide an emergency or urgent service and cannot guarantee a response within a certain time frame.
Our Psychiatrists can provide a private prescription which can be filled out at most pharmacies. The cost of having a private prescription filled is different to the NHS standard charge-it can vary according to the pharmacy and the cost of the medication.
Alternatively your psychiatrist can ask your GP if they will be prepared to prescribe-they are generally able to assist.
The consultation, as with any doctor, is confidential. There are certain situations where information may need to be shared without your consent-if the doctor is concerned that you or someone else’s life is at risk but these situations are rare and every attempt will be made to abide by your wishes with regards to confidentiality.*
You will have been asked to fill out a registration form and given your consent to who you want information shared with or not. This might be your GP, your therapist or psychologist if you are already seeing one, certain members of your family or no-one if that is your wish.
*It should be noted that if your assessment is for the purposes of a medico-legal report or a report provided for Court then the rules around confidentiality apply differently but this will be discussed with you prior to the assessment taking place.