What is your title and what does your role involve?
I'm a consultant gynaecologist at the Chichester Nuffield Hospital. I see women with gynaecological problems, symptoms or who want screening or reassurance. The clinic is set up to provide a one-stop assessment for busy women. We offer a complete examination and diagnostic service and, if necessary, we can carry out an ultrasound, scan, biopsy or provide contraception such as fitting a coil.
Who are your patients?
I see women of all ages. I do regular paediatric and adolescent gynaecology clinics as well as looking after ladies through their fertile years going into their menopause and thereafter. As the Cancer Unit Lead many ladies are attending with very worrying problems. These patients need support and reassurance as well as a rapid diagnosis. We provide a complete service for women that respects their privacy and dignity and aims to tailor our patients needs to what we are offering. You will also have access to a specially training gynaecological nurse at the time of your appointment and afterwards.
At what age should women visit a gynaecologist?
There is no requirement for a woman to routinely see a gynaecologist. But any female of any age can see a consultant for a check up or to discuss any symptoms they might be having. In the NHS, cervical screening starts from the age of 25 and it is advised that women see a gynaecologist every three years until the age of 60.
What are the symptoms that women should look out for?
If a women experiences bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse I would recommend she sees a gynaecologist. It's also advisable if there is a change in her periods, change in bowel movements or abdominal swelling. Any woman who bleeds after stopping her periods should seek advice.
What would you say to someone who was afraid of visiting the gynaecologist?
Most of the women who come to see me find the experience very reassuring. Here at the Nuffield Hospital in Chichester, the clinic is an all-female environment. There is plenty of space, it's comfortable and peaceful as well as being very private. We have information leaflets about most conditions for you to take away and can send you information before a visit if you feel this would be helpful.
What are the benefits of a visit to a private gynaecologist?
Most importantly, it is the time we can give to patients. Many will not only discuss physical issues or require a routine examination, but they might also talk about any emotional issues affecting their health. The facilities are also excellent with state of the art equipment and trained nursing and support staff. You also have access to email and telephone advice following your consultation.
What is your opinion on the HPV vaccine for girls?
I strongly support the government's national vaccination programme, because I believe it will prevent many cases of cervical cancer.
Can any woman come to see you at the Nuffield Hospital?
Yes. It's a misconception that seeing a private consultant is only for those who are insured. The concept behind this clinic is that it allows women to get the visit, consultation, examination and possible treatment all in one visit. Ideally a patient attending would have a referral letter but this is not always required. We would suggest you discuss you needs with Shelley Whitbourn my practice manager if you do not have a referral letter.
Before a clinic appointment:
I am on my period shall I still come?
As lots of ladies are attending with bleeding problems it is common for patients to be bleeding on the day of their appointment. We suggest you still attend and discuss your concerns with Miss Tipples. Most ladies will feel comfortable to be examined following their consultation but If you feel you would like to come back on another day for your examination Miss Tipples will arrange another appointment for you.
I don't want to discuss my problems with my General Practitioner and do not have a referral letter
We are happy to see you without a GP referral letter but hope that you will allow us to contact your GP following your consultation so we can update him/her on your clinical situation.
Before an operation:
Can I have an operation if I am on a period?
Due to changes in equipment we now use it is possible to perform the majority of surgery even when you are having a period.
When will I get my results?
Miss Tipples will either write to you with your results within three weeks or see you back in clinic for a follow up appointment.
After an operation:
I want to travel abroad: how long should I wait?
We would normally recommend a minimum of two weeks but you should discuss your case both with Miss Tipples and your insurance company.
When can I drive?
You cannot drive for 48 hrs after a general anaesthetic. If you have had a major procedure like a hysterectomy you can drive when you feel confident to do an emergency stop. This is usually a minimum of two weeks.
How long will I bleed for?
It depends on the exact procedure but mist gynaecological procedures lead to some bleeding. This should not be heavy and during this time you should avoid Tampax® and sexual intercourse. If the bleeding is heavy or a smelly discharge present please seek medical advice.
How long before I can have sexual intercourse ?
We advise you abstain from intercourse until all bleeding and discharge has settled.
How long before I can return to swimming and exercise
We advise you wait to swim until after your bleeding has settled. You can start light exercise after two weeks building up to your normal regime by six weeks. You should discuss your individual case directly with Melanie or her Women's health physiotherapy team.
Can I use Tampax®?
We recommend using pads until your bleeding has settled.