Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a therapist?

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists a psychiatrist is a medically-qualified practitioner who will have spent 5-6 years training as a doctor. He or she will then have worked as a doctor in general medicine and surgery for at least a year and will then have had at least 6 years of further training in helping people with psychological problems. They will be qualified to recommend medication, devise programmes, conduct therapy and undertake consultations with patients.

Clinical psychologists work with clients of all ages on a variety of different mental or physical health problems. They assess a client’s needs, abilities or behaviour using a variety of methods, including psychometric tests, interviews and direct observation of behaviour and devise a programme of treatment, including therapy, counselling or advice, in collaboration with colleagues. They are qualified to a university degree level.

“Therapist”  or “Counsellor” are generic terms that apply to mental health professionals undertaking face to face meetings with patients.

In general both psychiatrists and psychologists work as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside general practitioners, nurses, social workers, education professionals, health visitors and occupational therapists.

Do you accept self funding patients and those with private medical insurance?

Our medical professionals are fully accredited and recognised by all major health insurance companies; therefore we welcome patients covered by insurance as well as those choosing to fund themselves.

Does the Via Clinic offer overnight stays?

Yes, our psychiatrists have admitting rights at some of the best in-patient hospitals in the UK, including the Priory Hospital and Lifeworks in Old Woking. For some patients this is the best option, as it allows them to escape from their everyday environment and focus on their recovery. However, in-patient care is only undertaken when absolutely necessary and is not an automatic recommendation.

Can I choose my therapist?

Yes, normally after an initial consultation with a psychiatrist or psychologist, a recommendation will be made for the most appropriate programme and therapist to be put in place. This will include a recommendation to the relevant specialist(s) who will work with the patient. Should the patient be unhappy with the chosen therapist then arrangements can be made to find an alternative.

Will my information be kept private?

Put simply, a patient has the right to complete confidentiality. Anything said within the confines of a clinic surgery or treatment room, or even a person’s attendance, is protected by the Data Protection Act. Each new patient at the Via Clinic is asked to sign a “Consent to Treatment” form whereby the patient specifies who may be contacted regarding the patient’s condition. This may include the patient’s GP, relatives, friends or other medical professionals, or none at all. Alternatively, a patient may decide to involve others in their treatment. The parents of a child do not have the right to know what is discussed between the patient and the GP, without the child’s consent.

Can you collect me from public transport?

Depending on staff availability, the Via Clinic will greet people at one of the three nearby railway stations when they have a meeting with a medical professional booked at the Headley site, or alternatively a taxi can be organised.

I am working during the day and find it hard to get to see a psychiatrist. When can I see you?

The Via Clinic works in three locations, Headley, the Priory Woking and Life Works. Patients can be seen on weekends and after hours. Please call our number on 01372 363939 to organise an appointment that will suit you.

Will My GP be kept informed?

Yes. The Via Clinic would usually send any relevant correspondence after the consultation to your GP, provided this is approved by the patient. The GP and the psychiatrist work together to ensure the best treatment is provided.

What is the minimum age to visit the Via Clinic?

We see patients at the age of 16, through adulthood to old age, male or female.

What do I need to bring to my first consultation?

Before your meet us you will have received a pack, which will include; a map of how to get to the relevant location, a fee structure, and an Outpatient Information Form. Please complete the form before your appointment.  You will meet a psychiatrist for a new patient consultation, which involves taking your personal history and discussing the issues that you are facing.

Can I refer myself?

Self referral is possible, although this is only an option if you are self-funding, as, insurance companies require a GP referral to authorise funding.

Do you accept NHS patients?

We work closely with medical professionals and staff from the NHS to deliver the best outcome for the patient. At this time we do not receive funding for NHS patients but we do look forward to a mutually rewarding and beneficial relationship with the NHS in the future.

How long will my treatment last?

It is impossible to say at this stage how long the treatment plan would last as this depends on a patient’s condition, the type of condition and  response to treatment. Our focus is get patients feeling better as soon as possible.