Should We Offer Free Consultations?
This is a question that has divided plastic surgeons.
The argument for free consultations
On the one hand, patients may feel that they may not strike up a rapport with the surgeon or the surgeon may not be able or willing to give them the result that they are aiming to achieve and so they do not want to risk paying a consultation fee if they are not going to go ahead with surgery at that facility. It is important to get a feel for the place where you are going to be treated and to make sure that the staff are polite, attentive and professional “ this applies not only to the surgeon, but also to the rest of the outpatient and hospital staff.
First impressions are important, and if you don’t get a good one, you may regret paying £100 or more for the privilege, which is why we offer a ‘satisfaction guarantee’ which means that we will refund your consultation fee in full if you feel that your consultation has been unhelpful or if you are not suitable for surgery.
The argument against free consultations
On the other hand, many surgeons feel that they should be paid for their professional opinion and we have costs such as secretarial fees, consulting room rental and medical indemnity that have to be covered. Furthermore, there is the concern that patients are less likely to attend the appointment if it is free as the value is cheapened when patients are not paying. There is also a concern on the wider scale, that some clinics may be offering free consultations in order to attract patients and then using ‘hard sell’ tactics to encourage patients to undergo procedures. There should never be any pressure or incentives given to make patients feel that they have only a limited time to make a decision on what is often a life-changing event.
Why we charge for the initial consultation
I can see both sides of the argument. They say that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and so if clinics are going to offer free consultations, then they will presumable expect a significant proportion of patients to go ahead with a procedure. This is something that we really try to avoid. I think that it is important to see every patient and give them the best advice. We are doctors first and there must be no suggestion that any decision that we make, or advice that we give, has been given with any pressure or agenda, other than the patient’s best interest. A good consultation is one where the patient has left feeling supported, informed and educated, whether or not they choose to have surgery.
We do charge for consultations and will give you our professional opinion and as much time as you need. We only charge for the initial consultation, and so you can come back and go over things as often as you need if you have questions or queries. In fact I encourage you to come back for a second consultation to go over things. We do not charge for follow-up consultations. We also give patients our email address if they have any questions or concerns that we can answer by email. You can ask us about our qualifications and experience and we can talk about your expectations and whether surgery might be able to fulfil your goals. You will only see your surgeon, there will be no sales people or patient advisors and there will be absolutely no pressure to proceed with anything. If you think that surgery might be right for you and you would like to go over things again, then you can come back and see us as often as you need for no extra charge. We also offer a cosmetic surgery counselling service which allows you the opportunity to talk to someone about your feelings and your goals who can give emotional support with, what is often, a life changing decision.
Our initial consultation fee is from £100 and consultations are held in our boutique plastic surgery clinic in Edgbaston.
You can book an appointment online or get in touch with us here or by calling 0121-454 3680. We would love to hear from you.