Please help me find an ophthalmologist in London!
January 9, 2007 4:41 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find an ophthalmologist in London.

I moved to the UK in October. I have not yet made contact with any medical services here in London, but I am due for a check-up with an ophthalmologist. My ophthalmologist in NYC could not recommend anyone here, and so far relatives have also been unable to recommend anyone. I have spent some time online looking for “top doctors” lists or referral services, but have not found anything helpful.

I have private health insurance, but my visits to the ophthalmologist will not be covered. I am ready and willing to pay a lot to see someone good; I would like to find someone very knowledgeable and very personable (as would we all, I suppose). I do not yet have a GP in London (I seem to recall that I am supposed to wait six months to get one).

Any recommendations of either how to find the right ophthalmologist or who the right ophthalmologist might be?
posted by sueinnyc to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You don't need to wait six months to get a GP. The only sites I can find seem to be about eligibility for free NHS care as opposed to any care at all, eg NHS Charges for people from abroad, but the general feeling is that you should get a doctor before you need one.

When you've found your doctor, whether private or NHS, they will be able to point you in the direction of an ophthalmologist. But get a GP anyway, even if someone else finds you an ophthalmologist first!
posted by Lebannen at 5:18 AM on January 9, 2007

"Two countries divided by a single language"

In UK-speak, do you need to go to hospital to see an ophthalmologist about surgery or eye disease, or do you just need to find a local ophthalmic optician/optometrist (who has done the specialist degree in Optometry and then got registered after clinical experience and further exams) to check your eyes for possible problems and write a prescription for glasses?

This web page for the Royal National Institute for the Blind explains the difference.
posted by Idcoytco at 6:26 AM on January 9, 2007

Idcoytco: I need to see an ophthalmologist, not an opthalmic optician/optometrist (as confirmed by the link that you used).
posted by sueinnyc at 6:33 AM on January 9, 2007

Moorfields Eye Hospital is the main eye-related hospital in the UK, and it's based in central London. You'll probably end up there, however you get there. I'd imagine you should get a GP first, then make an appointment, explain what you need done and then you'll be sent there.
posted by randomination at 7:09 AM on January 9, 2007

There is a private patients' section on their site, btw.
posted by randomination at 7:13 AM on January 9, 2007

[I am a healthcare administrator in London] Whether you consult an ophthalmologist privately or on the NHS, you have to be referred by a general practitioner. This is the case for seeing all hospital specialists - you'll find your private insurance will make it a condition - I know this is different from other countries, but that's how it works in the UK. To find a NHS GP, use NHS Direct. Entitlement to the NHS is a little complicated, but essentially if you have the right of remain in the UK for at least a year, you are entitled to a GP. Note that you may well find that all the GPs in your area have waiting lists (though not 6 months), but even if this is the case your Primary Care Trust (if your location is true, yours is Camden) is obliged to find you a GP - contact their Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

Our patients attend Moorfields, both at City Road and the community satellite sites, and the Western Eye Hospital. (If it's for diabetic retinopathy, note that retinal screening may be part of your check up in the hospital diabetic clinic or indeed may be performed by your optician.)
posted by boudicca at 8:20 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Thank you all. Based on the responses to my question, I went ahead and registered with a GP and will ask the GP for a referral. I was able to find a GP without a waiting list, using Boudicca's link (I am indeed in Camden) -- I hope the lack of a waiting list is not a bad sign.
posted by sueinnyc at 9:09 AM on January 10, 2007

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