RedArc, providers of specialist personal nurse advisers, has partnered with Healix Health Services Ltd, to provide a unique Second Medical Opinion service in the UK. The service combines a face-to-face medical opinion from a consultant specialist with guidance and support by telephone from a dedicated nurse adviser both before and after the second opinion has been sought. It covers all major health areas, including mental health and is also available to children.
When people are worried they’re not getting the right diagnosis or treatment, they don’t always know where to turn. Having access to a Second Medical Opinion from a consultant in the UK will fill a gap in the market.
The service has been designed with insurers and employers in mind. It will be available to providers who wish to add value to their group risk or health insurance products, and employers can also purchase the service on a standalone basis to complement existing employee benefits.
Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc says: “A serious illness diagnosis is inevitably a worrying time and, in fact, any illness can lead to a range of concerns and questions. A Second Medical Opinion may lead to a different diagnosis, an alternative course of treatment or confirmation that everything is on track. Whatever the outcome, it puts the patient in control, and that is of great value. Access to a personal nurse adviser who has the expertise and the time to discuss the options gives the patient confidence that they are taking the right course of action for them.”
A study by University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the British Journal of Cancer highlights the need for a second opinion service, citing that one in five bowel cancer patients had symptoms that were missed and 16% of emergency bowel cancer patients had seen their GP three times or more with relevant symptoms. Similarly, a third of female heart attack patients’ initial diagnosis differed from their final diagnosis, according to a study by Leeds University of nearly 600,000 heart attack patients admitted to the NHS between 2004 and 2013. Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents – the widespread misdiagnosis of thyroid cancer, Lyme disease and ovarian cancer also made headlines during 2016.
Richard Saunders, sales director at Healix Health Services Ltd said: “Increasing numbers of people have concerns over accurate diagnoses or recommended treatment and look for a second opinion – for confirmation and reassurance and to better understand their options. However, this can be difficult to arrange for many reasons – depending on how obliging the specific NHS Trust or healthcare provider is; how emotional and vulnerable the individual is feeling; and whether their medical condition allows them to deal with the bureaucracy. Being able to simply make a phone call and knowing that the second opinion can be arranged within the UK is a huge weight off the patient’s shoulders.”
Second Medical Opinion Process
- A personal nurse adviser from RedArc discusses the individuals’ concerns and instructs Healix to identify the most appropriate consultant specialist* from over 22,000 throughout the UK.
- Healix arranges, manages and co-ordinates the private consultation with the consultant specialist.
- A personal nurse adviser gives guidance to the customer prior to the consultation, such as questions to ask and what to expect.
- After the consultation, the medical report is sent to the customer and, with their permission, their GP. All recommendations and treatment advice are in line with UK NICE guidelines and available in the UK.
- The personal nurse adviser follows-up with the customer to discuss the outcome of the consultation and help them decide on next steps. This may involve accessing services or further tests through the NHS or privately, making decisions or perhaps coming to terms with a disappointing outcome.
- For those that need long-term support, perhaps in adjusting to and managing a serious health condition, the support of the personal nurse adviser can continue.
Christine Husbands concluded about the benefit of the service from a treatment point of view: “Coming to terms with a diagnosis often means individuals don’t fully comprehend their treatment options and so having the benefit of a dedicated nurse adviser ensures that when a diagnosis is confirmed, the most appropriate treatment can get underway quickly and with the patient’s full understanding.
“Regardless of the long-term prognosis, every individual has a right to be confident in their diagnosis and their immediate treatment, and sometimes the only way to achieve that is to ask for a second opinion.”
*The extensive database covers all major specialities and sub-specialities throughout the UK, including:
Bariatrics (Weight loss)
Ear, Nose & Throat
Endocrinology & Diabetes
Oral & Maxillofacial