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Old Oct 5th 2017, 9:02 pm   #1
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Default My Medical at Knightsbridge

Hello, all!

I went for my medical at Knightsbridge Doctors yesterday. I am applying for a CR-1 visa, through the NVC. I thought I would share a comprehensive run-down of my time there, in case it might be of interest/reassurance to anyone else, especially anyone with mental health issues. (For reference, I was treated for depression/anxiety for thirteen years - no hospitalisations, many SSRIs, an assessment for Borderline Personality Disorder (negative), and several courses of therapy. I have been well and treatment-free since 2013, but I prepared myself for a rough time at the medical, just in case.) (TL;DR: rightly so - they require more information. Nothing insurmountable, but a bit of extra paperwork, expense, time and stress.)

My appointment was at 11.30am. I arrived at 11am. Very swanky building! I was asked to take a seat in the main waiting area until five minutes before my appointment, at which point I'd be welcome to come back through to reception and get checked in.

I checked in at 11.25am and was asked to hand over the required documents: 4 x passport-style photos, passport, ACRO, vaccination records, my completed medical questionnaire (along with continuation sheet, in my case), and the medical history summary from my GP. In my case, that latter document was quite lengthy as it provided more information on my mental health issues. The receptionist took copies of everything, kept hold of my passport and photographs (she stuck one of each of these onto various documents), and gave me back the originals of everything else. She also gave me another questionnaire to complete (essentially just a more in-depth version of the questionnaire we complete prior to the appointment) and a pot to provide a urine sample, which she said could be done at any point during my visit. I took the questionnaire back into the waiting room, filled it out, then brought it back along with my urine sample. By 11.30am, I was back in the waiting area, waiting to be called.

At 11.45am, I was called in for my chest X-Ray. The radiographer was very jovial and pleasant! I was asked to remove my jumper and bra and to put on a gown (behind a screen, of course), and then I had my X-Ray. It took five minutes, and I was told immediately that it was a fine result. I was then led to another room (still wearing just the gown and my leggings - quite fetching) where I was to wait to see the nurse to discuss vaccinations.

The nurse arrived after around 5 minutes, established that I needed three vaccinations (flu, tetanus, and the second MMR vaccination that I apparently missed once upon a time), and gave me an option to have them done there and then (for a fee) or to have them done by my GP and send evidence of the vaccinations later. For the sake of ease (and because I now live 70 miles from where I'm registered with a GP), I chose to have them done at Knightsbridge; however, the nurse recommended I wait until after I'd seen the doctor as there was a chance I'd need to make a visit to my GP anyway, to request more information on my mental health issues, so if that were to happen, I might as well save myself £112 and get the jabs done by my doctor. I agreed with this, so was then shuffled away to another waiting area, to wait to see the doctor. The nurse said that I could get my vaccinations done at any point that day, if I wasn't going to make a visit to my GP.

At 12.15pm, I was called into the doctor's office. The doctor I saw (I don't know if we're allowed to post names?) was very friendly and quite new - he said he'd been doing these visa medicals for a month. I was with him for 25 minutes. First he sat with me and went over my paperwork, which included a 5-minute talk on my past mental health issues and an overview of the letter my GP had written (the one which didn't quite include the magic words - that I am "not a harm to myself or anybody else" - but essentially implied the same thing, and otherwise just detailed my diagnoses and the treatment I'd received over the years). He said that the letter she'd written was "good" and that he was fairly sure it would be enough to satisfy the embassy, but that he would seek a second opinion in order to avoid the embassy rejecting the approval of the medical and requesting more information.

We discussed my admission to having used drugs (as per one of the questions on the questionnaire), and he praised my being so candid and frank about my occasional (long time ago) adventures in recreational drug-use. He filled out a questionnaire that related to drug-use (lots of questions like "have you ever felt agitated because you couldn't obtain drugs", and a variety of others to which I answered 'no' - I got the impression they were directed more toward seasoned drug-users), and he advised me that it might be worth my while to do a drugs test while I was there, in order to back up the evidence that suggests I am a reformed character (i.e. no longer suffering ill mental health; just completed a degree; etc.). I agreed to do this - for another fee, of course.

The rest of my physical with the doctor included the following (for most of which, I was sitting/lying on my back on a bed, still wearing my gown but by now with just my underwear on underneath):

- check weight
- check height
- eye test (with and without my prescribed glasses)
- checked my ears
- took my temperature
- 'observed' my skin (this involved looking at my arms, first of all; he saw the tattoo on my wrist and asked if I had any other tattoos - I advised him I had two on my back - he asked to see these. I obliged and curiously asked if this was to check in case they contained any profanity; he advised me it was because they have to do a 'skin observation', and so it is important to acknowledge and view all tattoos, so that he can state confidently that he has seen my skin, with no surprises coming down the line if I am found to have tattoos that he's not seen or mentioned)
- checked my breathing using a stethoscope on my chest and back
- checked my blood pressure
- picked up and moved my legs, bending them at the knee
- prodded at my stomach
- took a blood sample

All available results, at this point, were fine and normal.

When I left the doctor, he advised me that he would be happy to sign me off on my mental health under the category that suggests I am well and that further issues are unlikely to occur, but that he would get a second opinion to be on the safe side. I was then asked to go and sit back in the waiting room, by which point it was 12.40pm.

At 1.05pm, the doctor called me back in to advise me that his colleague recommended we seek more information from my GP. They said my GP needed to provide copies of every single piece of correspondence that has ever been written/sent about my mental health. I have copies of all of these documents myself as I paid for my full medical records, but they need to come from my GP. The doctor said he would write up a letter to my GP, and that I would be given it by the receptionist at the end of the day.

At 1.15pm, I was called back in to see the nurse. I decided to have my jabs done there and then as I didn't fancy having too many things hanging over my head left to do after yesterday, especially in light of this extra mental health stuff. The nurse gave me my three jabs (£50 for MMR, £40 for tetanus (I might have the costs for those two the wrong way around) and £12 for flu), and then asked me to provide a second urine sample for the drugs test (£50). They couldn't use the sample I provided at the beginning of the day because they need to witness you provide the sample, essentially. The nurse came with me to a small bathroom down the hall, and stood by the door, with the door open, while I provided the sample. I had to hand the pot back to her before flushing the toilet.

By 1.30pm, I was all done with the nurse and made my way back to the main waiting room, where I was to wait until the receptionist called me out - she was just waiting on the letter from the doctor to give to my GP. That took about ten minutes, and then I was paying up and on my way home.

The cost for the day was £452. The medical itself is now £300, and I paid for the vaccinations and the drugs test on top of this.

The letter written to my GP is asking for yet another general summary of my mental health issues (it is not asking for anything that wasn't in the original letter she provided, but ho hum!) along with copies of all correspondence ever sent or received that relates to my mental health. I was advised that it would be okay for my GP to email this to Knightsbridge, rather than post, if necessary/possible. Conveniently, my GP is away for the next fortnight, but I asked the receptionist at my GP's office if another doctor would be able to look at this in her absence, and she assured me that that should be fine. I have not been told, yet, how much it is going to cost me, but I imagine it will be another £120, as per the first letter/time spent reading my records. This is all a bit of a bummer, of course, but I'm just sucking it up and getting it done. In total, everything relating to the medical will end up costing me somewhere in the region of ~£800 (not including travel and accommodation in London).

All in all, the thought of this medical was far worse than the event itself. All of the staff were very lovely, particularly the nurse and the new doctor. He seemed almost apologetic for what I believe is simply a technicality in my case, and was extremely kind and compassionate. I've not kept it a secret that I've been a little apprehensive about this process, and I am disappointed that the documents I took with me weren't quite enough, but I am hopeful that this can be resolved in time for my interview on the 7th of November. It'll all be worth it in the end!

If anybody has any questions about my experience, I will gladly answer them here. Hopefully this post will offer some reassurance to anybody going through similar things in advance of their medical.
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Last edited by KK85; Oct 5th 2017 at 9:04 pm.
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Old Oct 6th 2017, 10:44 am   #2
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Default Re: My Medical at Knightsbridge

Very detailed write up KK85, nice one. Hope everything works out with the additional paperwork etc...for you! Just out of curiosity, why do they take a blood sample?
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Old Oct 6th 2017, 10:53 am   #3
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Very detailed write up KK85, nice one. Hope everything works out with the additional paperwork etc...for you! Just out of curiosity, why do they take a blood sample?
Test for syphilis
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Old Oct 6th 2017, 6:01 pm   #4
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Default Re: My Medical at Knightsbridge

Great detailed post, shame they're making you provide even more documents from your GP when you pretty much took it all already.

Didn't the doctor mention anything about the previous drug use? I've seen and read plenty of posts where people have been denied due to admitting previous use. Then having to wait a year while doing random tests.

Heads up, this may get brought up at your interview. The US Government are very strict when it comes to drug use, past or present.

Hope all goes well for you
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Old Oct 6th 2017, 6:01 pm   #5
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Default Re: My Medical at Knightsbridge

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Very detailed write up KK85, nice one. Hope everything works out with the additional paperwork etc...for you! Just out of curiosity, why do they take a blood sample?
Blood for syphilis, urine for gonorrhea
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Old Oct 6th 2017, 8:55 pm   #6
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Didn't the doctor mention anything about the previous drug use? I've seen and read plenty of posts where people have been denied due to admitting previous use. Then having to wait a year while doing random tests.

Heads up, this may get brought up at your interview. The US Government are very strict when it comes to drug use, past or present.
The doctor seemed pretty satisfied with the information I gave, enough so to sign me off (were it not for the second opinion, which related to mental health and not drug use).

I provided a continuation sheet, due to my answering 'yes' to the 'Have you ever used drugs?' question on the questionnaire, and detailed exactly what drugs I'd tried, and when. The doctor and I went over this sheet together, and he thanked me for providing it and said it was very good and helpful that I'd been so candid. I have never been a habitual drug user - I tried cocaine twice and MDMA once, and smoked a handful of joints between my teenage years and early twenties - and the doctor seemed content to accept these as the one-off occurrences that they were.

Due to my admission, he did ask me to complete another questionnaire with him, which related specifically to drug-use. Most of the questions on there kind of inferred, in themselves, that they are usually asked of more seasoned drug-users. They were questions like [and I'm afraid I have to paraphrase, as I do not recall them perfectly] 'have you ever committed crimes or stolen money to pay for drugs?'; and 'have you ever found yourself agitated when you cannot obtain drugs?'. My answer to every question on the list was 'no'. The doctor advised, afterwards, that it might be worth my while to do a drugs test anyway, just to back myself up, and I was perfectly happy to oblige.

He did not suggest that this particular issue was likely to rear its head at any other point. I have seem some people discuss, on this forum, the possibility that some doctors will take you for your word based solely on your appearance/attitude/cooperation/heart-on-sleeve-syndrome, and I certainly fall into the Romantic end of that latter category, though whether there's anything to be said for them following their gut instinct is debatable (and perhaps naive). Fingers crossed (and I am sure) this doctor has done everything by the book, and that if it does come up at the interview, I will not have any issues, just as he didn't.

I am hopeful that I will have done enough to prove myself on this point - it would be such a shame to be denied a visa on the grounds that I once tried MDMA at a house party. But this is U.S. immigration, I suppose! I am at their mercy.
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Old Oct 11th 2017, 3:04 pm   #7
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Ahh i'm glad its over with and that the GP gets the letter back to Knightsbridge ASAP!

Funny the comment about the skin check and tattoos.. I have around 16 and he didn't really pay any attention to them lol.
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Old Oct 11th 2017, 5:12 pm   #8
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Ahh i'm glad its over with and that the GP gets the letter back to Knightsbridge ASAP!.
The Doctor at Knightsbridge told my wife to drop this form they gave her at her GP's and was under the impression that the GP would simply fill it out and send it back in 5 days (You would think they had dealt with the NHS before). Well the letter was dropped off first thing Monday and it will be Thursday tomorrow and for all we know the GP has not even seen the form yet. It’s enough to make you quite annoyed.
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Old Oct 11th 2017, 6:31 pm   #9
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... for all we know the GP has not even seen the form yet. It’s enough to make you quite annoyed.
I do understand your frustration. Fortunately, my GP has been very cooperative and more efficient than I could have expected, certainly historically. She read through my entire medical history and had a two-page letter drafted for Knightsbridge, all within five working days. That came at a £120 cost, mind you!

I'm yet to hear anything this time around (she's essentially been asked to do the same thing again, this time with the addition of cherry-picking specific bits of info from my medical records to forward to Knightsbridge), but she was apparently only back in the office today, so nothing has been actioned yet. I've been told to wait until Friday to hear what the cost will be, and then I can pay up and get the ball rolling. I'm keeping everything crossed she'll have the time and the will to work as quickly as she did last time, as that should mean there will hopefully be no delays (medical-related, at least) after my interview.

Good luck to you and your wife, AndyMan74. We are all so very nearly there.
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Old Oct 13th 2017, 6:13 pm   #10
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So! My GP has finally had a chance to look over the letter from Knightsbridge, and has quoted me £160 for the work that needs doing. I'll be paying that on Monday.

I was originally quoted £60 if it meant she could just copy and paste the previous letter she wrote and re-date it as all the information remains the same, but I asked for a new one (otherwise why else would Knightsbridge have asked for a new one ). So that, plus having to leaf through my paper records as well as my digital ones (because apparently doctors still keep our paper records?!), means it's a little on the expensive side once again. But she thinks she can get it done by next Friday. And I'm hopeful that will mean there's enough time for the documents to get back to Knightsbridge, be assessed, hopefully be approved, and then sent to the embassy in time for my interview.

More updates as events unfold!
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Old Oct 13th 2017, 6:57 pm   #11
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Default Re: My Medical at Knightsbridge

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So! My GP has finally had a chance to look over the letter from Knightsbridge, and has quoted me £160 for the work that needs doing. I'll be paying that on Monday.

I was originally quoted £60 if it meant she could just copy and paste the previous letter she wrote and re-date it as all the information remains the same, but I asked for a new one (otherwise why else would Knightsbridge have asked for a new one ).

More updates as events unfold!
I'm of a mind that since your doctor will be mailing this directly to the Knightbridge's office from her office, they 'know' it is a letter that originated from her and not a letter that you presented that might have been tampered with.

We do what we have to do and hopefully this will be the last of the out-of-pocket expenditures that you will be required for your medical approval.
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Old Oct 13th 2017, 7:08 pm   #12
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I'm of a mind that since your doctor will be mailing this directly to the Knightbridge's office from her office, they 'know' it is a letter that originated from her and not a letter that you presented that might have been tampered with.

We do what we have to do and hopefully this will be the last of the out-of-pocket expenditures that you will be required for your medical approval.
Thank you, Rete. I certainly hope so!

It was actually my GP who suggested she could merely copy/paste the old letter and change the date on it, in order to save me the extra £100, and the letter would be mailed from her office to Knightsbridge either way. There's nothing immoral about that, I suppose, since all the details do remain the same and will largely just be written out word-for-word again anyway. But I felt that a newly worded letter was more appropriate, and surely more likely to be accepted, so out goes that extra £100.

I need to clarify whether or not she intends to post it all to Knightsbridge, actually, since last time she just gave the letter to me to send to them (edit: this was all prior to my medical, though, so of course she did! Silly me), and this time there will be significantly more paperwork. It makes far more sense for her to fax/email Knightsbridge, as per their instruction, and I will discuss this with her on Monday.

It's all worth it to be reunited with my husband (and, more importantly, my cat) all the sooner, hopefully!
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Old Oct 13th 2017, 8:05 pm   #13
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Default Re: My Medical at Knightsbridge

I needed a GP letter for my medical and they accepted a scanned signed letter emailed to them from my email. However, that was not for mental health so they may be more strict with your case. Good luck.
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Old Oct 13th 2017, 9:03 pm   #14
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I needed a GP letter for my medical and they accepted a scanned signed letter emailed to them from my email. However, that was not for mental health so they may be more strict with your case. Good luck.
I was also asked to provide more information from my GP re. past mental health issues in the form of a letter summarising my medical history, and the Knightsbridge Doctors accepted a scanned signed letter with no issue whatsoever. Just make sure to scan all of the pages and convert to PDF so their reception office can print it out easily. I initially sent JPEG images (unthinkingly) and they struggled with those.
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Old Oct 14th 2017, 8:19 am   #15
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I needed a GP letter for my medical and they accepted a scanned signed letter emailed to them from my email. However, that was not for mental health so they may be more strict with your case. Good luck.
Thank you, Tom.

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I was also asked to provide more information from my GP re. past mental health issues in the form of a letter summarising my medical history, and the Knightsbridge Doctors accepted a scanned signed letter with no issue whatsoever. Just make sure to scan all of the pages and convert to PDF so their reception office can print it out easily. I initially sent JPEG images (unthinkingly) and they struggled with those.
That is very reassuring and very helpful, LandOfLincoln, thank you.
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