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Why We Charge For Your Initial Consultation

Do You Expect To Pay For A Consultation With A Surgeon?

There is always a debate as to whether to charge for consultations or offer them for free.

In fact I did a blog post a few years ago discussing the topic.

Traditionally a consultation with a doctor would carry with it a fee as you might expect with any professional service.

However, things are different in plastic surgery for two reasons.

  1. First of all, plastic surgery is a very ‘surgical’ speciality. There is very little in the way of diagnosis and the skill and expertise is very much weighted towards the surgical ability of the surgeon rather than any clever diagnosis. It might be required in other surgical specialities such as general surgery if you presented with abdominal pain.  Most people present to a plastic surgeon with a cosmetic feature that they dislike and they have an idea about how they would like it to be corrected, and so we understand the reluctance to pay a large consultation fee.
  2. Furthermore, a lot of plastic surgery is provided by commercial clinics and they routinely offer free consultations although admittedly these are often not with the surgeon themselves. This has created an expectation amongst patients to receive a free consultation. Because all of the surgeons here at the Staiano Clinic are members of the Plastic Surgery Professional Associations, BAPRAS or BAAPS, we are bound by professional guidelines and free consultations are not encouraged as we are doctors providing a professional service and we certainly do not want to be seen to be encouraging or coercing patients to have surgery.

We do charge a consultation fee.

However, I am very aware that there might be some resistance to pay a consultation fee, because you might not be able to have the surgery that you wanted, or what if you just do not like the surgeon, or are unhappy with the opinion given.

I have always stressed that the ethos behind the clinic is to create happy patients.

We are not about achieving targets and goals in relation to conversions or number of operations.

The key metric that I judge our performance on is whether our patients are happy or not.

We charge a consultation fee because I believe that there is value in coming to speak to one of us.

We are specialists in our field and we will always try and give you the best opinion on what might be right for you.

There are too many people in the cosmetic surgery world who are generalists and will operate on any part of the body, whereas here at The STAIANO Clinic everyone is a specialist with specialist knowledge and experience.

I believe that we give value to our patients and we do not take it lightly that there is a charge associated with the consultation.

Satisfaction Guarantee

That is why we have our satisfaction guarantee because if you feel that your consultation has been unhelpful or if you are not suitable for surgery, we offer a no quibble, no questions asked, full refund of your consultation fee paid.

We only ever charge for your initial consultation and all future consultations will be free, whether they are before or after surgery.

In fact we encourage our patients to come back for at least one more consultation to go over things before going ahead with surgery.

We also offer emotional support from a counsellor who specialises in the field of body image and weight management for all of our patients.

I think that you will find that if you come to The Staiano Clinic for a consultation, we will give you our best advice and you will feel the value that we offer every patient.

We are constantly striving to provide more value and to lift ourselves above the many poor standards and practices that the media loves to report on in the cosmetic surgery world.

We want to be the leading provider of cosmetic surgery that stands for quality and service and we will not be able to do this unless we can deliver over and above expectations to all of our patients.

Call us now on 0121-454 3680 or drop us an email to give us a chance to show you what world class service looks like.

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BAAPS 2017

I was lucky enough to have been invited to be a speaker at the the annual conference of plastic surgeons (BAAPS 2017) a couple of weeks ago.
My message to the BAAPS Conference was about how important it is to look after your patients.
Most of the conference was dedicated to strategies and techniques to improve surgical outcomes and this is undoubtedly important.
But I think that a lot of surgeons lose sight of the other aspects that go towards a successful outcome and a happy patient.
Things like:

  • Is your clinic easy to find?
  • Is it easy to park?
  • Are the receptionist and clinic staff welcoming?
  • Do you provide an atmosphere where patients feel they have the time and space they need to make an informed decision?
  • Do you support patients after they have seen you in clinic and after they have had their procedure?

I was asked to talk at the meeting because this is where I have invested a lot of time and energy and this is the main reason that I opened my own clinic.
So that I can control all of these aspects of your experience.
I have built my practice around my goals and values.
There is more to surgery than the traditional aspects that we tend to measure “ things like infection rates, or time to wound healing or revision rates.
I realise that the difference between a happy patient and an unhappy patient is not necessarily completely dependent on the surgical result.
My goal is to develop a world class service at The Staiano Clinic and I know that to do this, we need to not only deliver the best surgical outcomes possible, but we also need to give excellent service and look after patients before, during and after their treatment.
I am continually working towards my goal and I was delighted to be able to share my experience with my plastic surgery colleagues at BAAPS 2017.
The ultimate judge of our service is you and you can help to shape the service that we offer.
If you have any comments or feedback, then please let us know because we are continually trying to improve the service and this culture of improvement will never stop.
We aim to practice what we preach, so feel free to leave comments below or email us and help us to maintain our standards.

The Hidden Costs of Medical Tourism

I have just read another article about the dangers of medical tourism.

Medical Tourism is a thriving industry and many people from the UK travel abroad to have cosmetic procedures. I completely understand why they do this because it can be seen as having a holiday or having a trip overseas, not to mention the significant saving in costs with the surgery.
However, I cannot recommend it and this is why.
When I get referrals from patients who live overseas or even in other parts of this country, I always recommend that they seek a surgeon closer to home, because whilst there are not that many plastic surgeons in the country, we are represented in most towns and cities. If you know what qualifications to look out for, you should be able to find someone who is appropriately skilled and qualified to do your surgery. In fact, I dedicate a chapter of my book to the risks and benefits of medical tourism or having surgery far from home.
I have read a recent report about patients in overseas cosmetic surgery clinics suffering significant infections following surgery. One of the many problems with having surgery overseas is that the standard of training of the doctors and the standard of cleanliness cannot be guaranteed. The processes and checks that are performed in the clinic may not be to the same level that they are in this country.
Clearly there are many well trained surgeons and excellent clinics overseas but the issue is in knowing who and where they are. The surgery is often significantly cheaper and you should ask yourself why this is?
It may be that the level of indemnity insurance of the surgeon is much less than required in the UK which means that if you do have a problem, you will have less comeback on the surgeon.
It may be that the clinics and the hospitals do not need to invest in stringent and robust infection control procedures and safety checks that are required in UK facilities.
It may also be that the level of aftercare and support following a procedure could be affected as I always stress that it is best to see your surgeon, not only before but after your surgery to put your mind at rest and to make sure things are progressing satisfactorily.
At the end of the day, it is up you, to the patient to make the decision as to where to have surgery, whether it be at home or abroad and the onus is on us as practitioners to make sure you are fully informed about all the risks and the benefits of each.

I go back to my mantra I will always tell patients, which is:

“Do your research and do not be afraid to ask questions”

If you would like a copy of my book which is available now click the link here.

I talk about why Plastic Surgery is cheaper overseas in one of my LIVE Q&A sessions on Facebook every Tuesday night at 7pm, watch it here:
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Quality Plastic Surgery – Is there such a thing?

A Quality Provider?

I believe there is a need for a provider of plastic surgery in this country that stands for quality.
There are many Plastic Surgeons who are doing good work, but most of them are working alone as sole traders.
There are only a few hundred full members of BAAPS (the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) in the country and the majority work in the NHS.
Whilst being a Consultant in the NHS is a marker for quality and one that I encourage patients to look out for in their Surgeons, the NHS work takes a lot of time and this means that many Plastic Surgeons cannot dedicate their time and energy to the private practice.
This has led to an increase in the number of commercial clinics and non-Plastic Surgeons who are providing plastic and cosmetic surgery to patients.
I left the NHS to focus not only on delivering excellent service, but on showing that I am delivering excellent service.
My clinic is a place that people can come and that they all know they will be treated at the highest level of expertise and ethics.

Unfortunately…

…the image of plastic surgery clinics is of glamorous sale assistants who will give you a sales pitch and then make it difficult for you to say no.
The perception is that a lot of clinics put profits before patients.
The ethos of the Staiano Clinic is simple – we are doctors first and because the clinic is run by a doctor (me), this culture is instilled from the top down.
We see patients who have a problem and we see if we can help with that problem.
The first step is to find out what that problem is.
There is always a physical complaint, but there is usually an emotional and psychological effect too and we need to make sure that by improving the physical we will also be helping the emotional and psychological side.
Occasionally, the psychological effects are more important than the physical effects, which is why we work with psychological counsellors to help us address these problems if they are present.
This is an important aspect as we cannot get away from the fact that cosmetic surgery is a very emotional issue and while we are not saying that there isn’t a physical problem, we must all recognise that the physical and emotional elements are firmly linked.

The next step is to see if we can help with the problem.

We make no promises that your life will be transformed or you will be able to get a footballer for a husband (as was recently suggested to me in a radio interview), but we will show you realistically what can be achieved and we will also talk to you about the limitations and complications of having surgery.
We are not trying to sell anything, we are trying to treat patients and give all of the risks and benefits so that they can weigh it up and make an informed decision.
When I am training junior doctors, I always tell them that you will never regret not operating on a patient and if we can make you think twice about having a procedure then maybe it is the right thing that you go away and take time to consider it.
We are all about getting happy patients and this is our number one priority.
We are not interested in sales. I am touched and moved by the positive feedback and reviews that we get and I am convinced this is because we always try to do the right thing and do what is best for you, even if that might mean not having surgery.
I really believe that we, as Plastic Surgeons, are doing the country a disservice by not raising our profiles and by allowing commercial clinics and non-Plastic Surgeons to dominate the market and give the industry a bad reputation.
It is a great atmosphere to work at my clinic because it is full of so many happy patients and advocates in this digital age with on-line reviews and reputations being so important.
I believe that once we get our message out there, we can help to turn things around and take away the guilt and stigma associated with plastic surgery and give it the reputation of something that can enhance, improves people’s lives and self-esteem and not something that is unnecessary, vain and unimportant.
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