Run by Doctor by appointment 0191-2814777
In general, we are nominated by an insurance company such as Axa or Norwich Union to perform an insurance medical on someone who is not a patient. This avoids the problem of "the wearing of two hats" . If we are asked to examine a patient on behalf of an insurance company, there might be a conflict of interest, meaning on one hand we have a duty of care for that patient and on the other hand we have a responsibility to report our findings to the insurance company. This rarely leads to problems except in the case where the patient would be ill advised to seek insurance unless they realise that the policy offered will be "loaded". Policies are often sold these days with the carrot of "no medical required" and applicants are surprised when the company requests an independent medical examination.
The request for a medical depends on many factors which the insurance company learn from your own declaration and the PMA which your own doctor submits with your permission. We are aware that information regarding the routine medical examination is sometimes difficult to find from the insurance company. We have recently changed our procedure regarding independent medical examinations and have requested the secretary who makes the appointments for medicals to write to the applicant and confirm the appointment date as well as stating the following:
- inform the applicant that a medical examination while not of an "intimate" nature will require a breast examination in the case of a female and a scrotal examination in the case of a male.
- indicate to the applicant the gender of the doctor who will be performing the examination.
- invite the applicant to bring a family member or friend to be present during the physical examination if they wish to do so.
- tell the applicant that they will be required to pass a sample of urine to be tested by the doctor. If they do need to go while waiting, they should tell the receptionist who will give them a sample bottle. advised to arrive in plenty of time before the medical and sit quietly to allow the blood pressure to settle.
- if the applicant has any concerns about the nature of the medical examination, email the surgery (Linda@thesurgery.org) who may be able to answer the query. This is preferable to contacting the Insurance Company who are often unable to give correct advice regarding the nature of an insurance examination.
Usually we are not informed why the medical is requested by the insurance company before the medical. However in general, it is because either you or your doctor has written something which may suggest to the company that the risk is greater than normal. This might be because you are a smoker, overweight or have been noted to have high blood pressure, or all three! Other reasons are that you are asking for a large policy to cover an expensive house, or sickness cover for many years leading up to your retirement. Many people are requested to have a medical for no other reason except that the sum involved is large. Please remember that insurance like good health is not a right, and the insurance company has a responsibility to the shareholders of the company not to take on unacceptable risks. The recent disaster in the USA shows how vulnerable even the big insurance companies are.
Appointments can be arranged at a convenient mutual time. They are usually just before evening surgery and will last between 20 and 30 minutes depending if the company requests any extra tests. These may be serial blood pressure reading, blood test for cholesterol, HIV testing or liver function tests, or a test to confirm that the applicant is a non smoker if this is declared on the application. As yet we have not been asked to perform any genetic tests but they must be around the corner unless the government decides that this will create a subclass of people unable to obtain insurance. The insurance companies would just love to have a genetic test which would make their calculation a "win win" situation for them. Be careful if you feel that you are being pressurised into giving blood for a test that might make you uninsurable if a particular gene is discovered. You can always try another company. Also remember that the company offering the cheapest premium may only want those with the lowest of risks and reject others. If refused you may have difficulty in obtaining acceptable insurance from another source; a bit like car insurance after a crunch!
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