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Are your doctors qualified?

All our specialists are fully qualified doctors with a specialist interest in migraine and headache and are registered with the UK’s General Medical Council. Our doctors provide expertise on various specialist areas including: neurology, women’s health and ophthalmology. You will be assigned to one doctor who you will usually see at each of your visits. If, for any reason, you would prefer to see a different doctor at a future visit, please let us know.


How do I make an appointment?

There are two ways for you to make an appointment:

  1. a) Self-referral

Please telephone the centre to make an appointment. We will ask you for your name, address, telephone number. Alternatively, you can complete this online form with your contact details and we will call you back. We will need your personal and GP details in order to register you as a patient.

  1. b) Doctor referral

Ask to be referred by your physician who will write a letter with a brief description of your relevant headache/medical history. If you have other illnesses or a complicated headache history we would prefer you to be referred by your doctor who can give us information about you.


What will happen during my appointment?

You should allow at least 40 minutes for your first visit. This gives the migraine and headache specialist plenty of time to take a detailed medical history and to review headache diaries you may have kept. You will have a brief examination by the doctor, which usually includes a neurological examination. You will not usually be required to undress. An individual treatment plan will be devised for you and discussed with you.

After your first appointment, we will write a medical report with full details on your diagnosis, recommended drug and non-drug treatment strategies, which may include diet, exercise and complementary therapies. You will be sent a copy of this report.

We recommend that you take the report to your doctor to prescribe any necessary medications for you.

Since there are no specific tests for most types of headaches, brain scans and further investigations are not normally required if a diagnosis is clear. Should they be necessary, we will advise this in our report to your doctor, who can organise these locally for you.

A follow-up appointment will include a review of your diary cards and an assessment of how you are coping with your migraine. Your management strategy may be revised if necessary. A handwritten report will be produced for your GP and a copy sent to you.

We always try to ensure that the clinic runs on time, but this cannot be guaranteed. Please help us by arriving on time.


What doctor should I see, do I have a choice?

We endeavour to match you to the most appropriate specialist, so the more information you give on booking, the better. We will always try to give you your choice, but there may be good reasons why you can’t see your preferred doctor. For follow-ups we will always endeavour to keep you with the same doctor.


How many visits do I need?

After your first appointment we usually offer a follow-up appointment around 3 months later, although this does vary depending on diagnosis, frequency of headaches and individual treatment plans.

After this, your specialist will offer further follow-up appointments only if you both think it is appropriate. You may call the centre at any time to arrange a follow-up appointment if this becomes necessary.


Do you offer phone consultations?

Some doctors offer existing patients follow-up appointments by phone (first appointments are always carried out face-to-face). Please discuss this with reception if you prefer to have an appointment in this way. Phone consultations have a set fee for all patients of £118 and are booked as a 20 minute appointment.


What should I bring with me?

Please bring your headache diary with you (download the template here). The doctor will want to know about the types of migraine and headache you experience, and roughly how old you were when they started, so you may want to make some notes to bring with you. Please also bring a list of current and previous treatments and medications, if you can. We will also need your GP’s name, address and telephone number.


Why should I keep a headache diary?

Diary cards provide a great deal of relevant information about your headaches, particularly how often you get them, how long they last and what your symptoms are. They are also valuable in assisting the doctor with diagnosis, assessing trigger factors and assessing the effectiveness of treatments.

If you are able to come to the centre with diary information at your first visit this will help the doctor to help you. You will be asked to continue with these until your next visit.


Where are you located?

The National Migraine Centre is located in central London at 22 Charterhouse Square, near Barbican and Farringdon stations. Directions and public transport guides are included in your appointment confirmation letter and further details are available here.


What if I have special needs?

We are situated in a listed building with a number of stairs so if this is a problem for you, please telephone in advance of your appointment. Likewise, if you have any other special needs, please discuss these requirements with us and we will do our very best to help you.


What happens if I need emergency or out-of-hours assistance?

National Migraine Centre is not an emergency service and only provides pre-booked appointments for non-urgent consultations. You have a number of options if you feel you need short-notice or emergency care:

  1. Your local GP surgery
  2. For emergencies visit your local Accident & Emergency Department
  3. For life threatening medical emergencies call 999

 


How do I obtain a repeat prescription?

Most medications we suggest are recommended to your GP and it is them who will write the prescription for you. However, when prescriptions are written by our staff, these can be repeated following a request in writing by email or post. Email info@nationalmigrainecentre.org.uk. Please note there will be a small charge to cover the admin involved. We do not dispense medications from NMC.


As a patient, what are my rights and responsibilities?

You have the right to:

  • Have your treatment explained to you
  • Refuse to be treated in front of any visiting trainee
  • Expect all practice personnel to maintain appropriate levels of confidentiality when dealing with your medical records

You have the responsibility to:

  • Make and keep appropriate your appointments, notifying the surgery – at least 1week in advance if you are unable to keep a booking.
  • At all times, behave in an acceptable manner towards staff and other NMC users
  • Inform the practice promptly of any changes of address, name, telephone contact number(s) or gift aid eligibility


What if I am late or cannot attend my appointment?

Arranging each appointment costs us money, time and resources. Therefore when patients do not attend their appointments without warning or with very little notice, the centre loses money and other potential patients lose out on an appointment.

We ask that you please give as much notice as possible (a minimum of 48 hours) so that we can try and fill your appointment. Our doctor’s time is valuable; therefore the National Migraine Centre will charge for all missed appointments where we are not given 48 hours notice. At the time of booking, a credit card number will be captured and payment will be processed if you fail to attend the appointment. This policy is described at the time of the booking and is intended to ensure that we are still here to help migraine and headache sufferers in the future.

If you turn up late for your appointment, the doctor will do their best to see you, but it may mean you have to wait. If their schedule is fully booked, you may have to rebook to attend another day.


How do I make a suggestion or complaint?

With your help the National Migraine Centre will ensure that its services are of the highest quality at all times. We would like to know when we are getting things right and when we don’t.

You can help us by telling us if:

  • We have done something wrong.
  • We haven’t done something we should have done.
  • We have done something really well.
  • You feel you have been treated badly or unfairly.
  • You think we could change things for the better.

Suggestions welcome

We are committed to involving service users and we want to hear your views – to enable us to provide services that meet your needs. If you have a comment or suggestion that could improve the way the centre runs, pass it on to the Chief Executive. We have a box in reception to post comments if you prefer.We are also keen to listen to the views of other people such as friends, relatives, other representatives and statutory authorities.

Complaints

As a service user of the National Migraine Centre you have the right to:-

  • Complain about the quality or nature of the service you receive.
  • Challenge any changes or decisions that you don’t agree with.
  • To be supported and represented by someone of your choice, at any stage, when making a complaint.
  • Know that your complaint will be dealt with, sensitively and confidentially.
  • Ask that someone else carries out the investigation, other than the nominated person.
  • Take your problems to an independent body such as your local authority social services department, the Care Quality Commission, or the Charity Commission.

What do I do? If you have a complaint, talk to reception or any other member of staff. If you prefer, you could ask a friend or relative to speak on your behalf.

Written Complaints

What happens if I complain? There are two stages to the complaints procedure. If possible we will sort your complaint out informally and quickly on the spot. If we can’t, we will investigate the complaint and let you know the outcome. This is the first stage.

If you are not happy with the result you can contact the Chair of the Trustees who will oversee a further investigation. This is the second stage.

You can ask a representative to support you, or to speak on your behalf, at any stage of the procedure.

How long will it take? We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 48 hours, Ideally we will be able to sort out complaints as they arise, but if we can’t we will contact you, at each stage, within 28 days – in writing.

You also have 28 days, at each stage, to take your complaint further if you wish.

Do I have to give my name? We will always investigate anonymous complaints, but they are harder to deal with and resolve satisfactorily. If you give your name we will respect your confidentiality. Only those who need to know about your complaint will be told.

Useful addresses

We like to sort out problems within the organisation if we can, however you have the right to contact an independent body if you feel you views have not been heard. Here are some useful contacts:

Care Quality Commission

03000 61 61 61

enquiries@cqc.org.uk

Charity Commission

Complete the online form here to report concerns

Violence and Abuse

The centre has a zero tolerance policy in regards to all forms of abusive and threatening behaviour. This includes, swearing, racial or sexual comments, verbal / physical threats, violence of any kind, towards staff or other patients.

We have the right to care for patients without fear of being verbally or physically abused. Anyone who is found to be threatening or abusive to any member of staff or other persons may be at risk of being removed from our Patient List. All instances of threats and physical abuse will be reported to the police. In extreme circumstances the police will be called to remove the offender/s from the premises.

If a patient’s actions warrant a removal from the Patient List the patient will be notified in writing.

Patients can apply to access their medical records. Formal applications for access must be in writing and accompanied by the appropriate fee. Requests should be made through Reception.

Confidentiality and Medical records

The centre complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Access to Health Records Act.

Doctors and staff at NMC require access to your medical records to enable them to do their jobs. From time to time information may be shared with others involved in your care if it is necessary. Anyone with access to your record is properly trained in confidentiality issues and is governed by both a legal and contractual duty to keep your details private.

In some circumstances we may be required by law to release your details to statutory or other official bodies, for example if a court order is presented, or in the case of public health issues. In other circumstances you may be required to give written consent before information is released – such as for medical reports for insurance, solicitors, etc.


Where can I get general information about migraine?

You can get lots of helpful information about living with migraine and links to other migraine sites from the migraines and headaches section of our website.

For support and updates from NMC you can sign up for our newsletter via our website or join our online communities: Health Unlocked Forum,FacebookTwitter.